The Atlanta Falcons have made it no secret that star wide receiver Julio Jones remains available in the trade market. The Falcons have yet to move toward finalizing that fate, but it appears imminent. However, Atlanta may not be entirely forthcoming with the sentiment regarding trade discussions.
Falcons express a desire to trade Julio Jones
Since this year’s NFL draft, Jones‘ name continues to stay prominent in the trade market.
Atlanta hasn’t shied away from maintaining the Pro Bowl wide receiver availability. The 32-year-old is entering the first year of his three-year, $66 million extension that runs through the 2023 season. His deal also holds only a $7.75 million dead-cap hit in 2023.
Jones finished up a frustrating campaign that saw him play only nine games but finished with 51 receptions for 771 receiving yards and three touchdowns. It marked the first time since 2013 that he played fewer than 14 games.
All that guided the Falcons to move toward exploring moves before Jones begins the lucrative extension. With the trade rumors heating up, Atlanta may not be telling the entire truth regarding the matter.
The Falcons may not be telling the entire truth about trade offers for Julio Jones
As the Falcons continue to dangle Jones in the trade market, rumors have emerged concerning potential offers.
A few days ago, reports indicated that Atlanta has teams willing to give up a first-round pick price. ESPN’s Diana Russini voiced that the franchise has a 2022 first-round selection on the table.
However, it doesn’t appear other teams are flocking to offer up that high asking price to acquire the All-Pro wideout. NFL Network‘s Mike Garafolo recently reported that the LA Rams and Tennessee Titans inquired about Jones.
The intriguing part regarding the Rams’ interest is that the team currently has no first-round draft picks until 2024. Beyond that, LA possesses roughly over $7 million in salary-cap space after the flurry of contract reworkings earlier this offseason.
General manager Les Snead may be no stranger to rolling the dice, but acquiring Jones may be out of the loop. The Rams invested plenty of capital over the last two years into their wide receiver group. The team selected Tutu Atwell and Van Jefferson in consecutive drafts in the second round, extended Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, and signed DeSean Jackson.
As Cameron DaSilva of Rams Wire pointed out, LA could restructure Matthew Stafford to save $12.6 million in salary-cap space and trade their 2022 second-round pick and another player to take on Jones’s 2021 $15.3 million salary. However, that would require the Rams to move either Kupp or Woods to make that trade potentially feasible.
More than anything else, LA’s possible involvement speaks to the Falcons not possessing much interest to meet their asking price to land Jones.
Atlanta continues to let the situation linger
Through the entire saga, it’s grown crystal clear that the Falcons want to move on from their star wideout.
Jones has embraced that fate and wants his NFL future sorted out. Meanwhile, the Falcons may be sifting through trade offers to work up the asking price.
There remains plenty of time this offseason to work out a deal well ahead of the 2021 campaign. However, the longer the situation remains unresolved, the longer it will create uneasiness in Atlanta.
Jones still has plenty left in the tank to play at an elite level while being a significant factor for a playoff team chasing a Super Bowl berth. It’s only a matter of time before he has a new NFL home before the 2021 season.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.