ESPN Shares an Enticing 49ers Trade Offer for Julio Jones

Julio Jones

Getty Wide receiver Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons carries the ball against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Atlanta Falcons are trading star wide receiver Julio Jones, but to who remains unknown.

ESPN writers played around with various offers featuring realistic trade partners and then left it up to Falcons’ team reporter Michael Rothstein to pick the best one. He chose a proposal made by San Francisco 49ers beat writer, Nick Wagoner.

In his trade proposal, Wagoner had the Niners giving up a 2022 second-rounder and a 2023 fourth-rounder for the five-time Pro Bowl wideout.

“The 49ers have two exciting young wideouts in Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, but that duo combined to play 19 games last season as injuries and COVID-19 issues kept them on the sideline,” Wagoner wrote. “Adding Jones — who knows Kyle Shanahan and his offense well — would offer the opportunity to protect Samuel and Aiyuk while adding the big outside receiver the Niners lack. The move also puts Jones on a contender, which he expressed as a personal priority.”

So what exactly did Rothstein like most about this one?

“The San Francisco deal was the simplest but also made the most sense,” Rothstein wrote. “The Falcons acquire two picks that can help reshape the roster or offer Fontenot draft capital to maneuver the next two years. It gave, to me, the best return of the offers put out there.”

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 Jones Would Reunite With a Familiar Face

Jones would fit well in the Bay Area since he already has a sense of familiarity after playing under 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan from 2015-16. In that time frame, Jones totaled 219 catches for 3,280 yards in just 30 regular-season games.

Shanahan’s two seasons as the Falcons offensive coordinator also included both of Jones’ All-Pro campaigns and his best NFL career season in 2015. He finished with 136 receptions that year which tied for third-most ever. Jones also had 1,871 yards that put him second to Calvin Johnson’s 1,964-yard single-season record.

A Jones-Shanahan reunion is certainly appealing to a team that has not had a 1,000-yard wide receiver since 2014. Though Jones didn’t notch 1,000 yards last season due to an ongoing hamstring injury, he was still one of Atlanta’s top playmakers next to Calvin Ridley.

Why a Trade with the 49ers Would Not Work

The only downfall with the Niners is that they would not be able to offer up a future first-round pick for Jones since they don’t have any in the next two NFL drafts.

In a more recent report on the Julio Jones trade saga by Diana Russini of ESPN’s Get Up, the Falcons have been offered a first-round pick for next year’s drat.

“I was told the Atlanta Falcons have on the table right now from a team a first-round draft pick in the 2022 draft.”

This offer could cancel out the 49ers altogether.

Russini also reported that a trade could go down as early as next week, which makes sense since the Falcons will save money post-June 1st rather than take a massive cap hit.

But don’t rule out San Francisco yet––crazier things have happened.


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