Multiple reports have pegged the Falcons as looking to trade star receiver Julio Jones but haven’t been able to find a market for him. Jones, 32, is still elite when healthy, but health is now a problem for him.
Jones is coming off an injury-plagued 2020 season in which he missed seven games with a lingering hamstring issue. The Falcons also had less than $600,000 in cap space as of Friday morning, per NFLPA records, and trading Jones could create nearly $15 million in new cap money that can be used this year or rolled over into next year.
Jones has three years and $38.3 million left on his contract, including a fully guaranteed salary of $15.3 million this year. That’s a lot for another team to commit to a receiver who isn’t getting younger and now has injury questions, and it’s understandable why teams would be wary of giving up high draft picks in a trade.
But a trade seems inevitable, and here’s betting that better offers will emerge closer to the June 1 deadline. The Falcons will wait until after June 1 to officially trade Jones, because it spreads out his salary-cap hit over two years and saves them $15 million in cap space this year.
As for Jones’s suitors, the Ravens, Dolphins, Colts, Titans, Raiders, Washington, Bears, Cardinals, and 49ers look like they have a spot ready for Jones. The Patriots will be rumored, but based on how they paid their free agents this offseason — giving big money to tight ends and moderate money to receivers — it appears that they view wide receiver as more of a complementary role in their offense.
Ben Volin can be reached at email@example.com.