According to Peter King of NBC Sports, there is a “better than 50-50” chance that the Falcons end up trading Jones before week 1 of the 2021 season.
“The reason is, obviously the Falcons are basically in cap jail right now, and they could clear an awful lot of space by trading Julio Jones June 2 or after,” King said on a recent episode of The Peter King Podcast. “They could separate his cap hit into two years, instead of taking it all now. So, that’s why I still think there’s a good chance he’s gonna get traded.”
If Jones is traded post-June 1st Atlanta will have a chance to save $15 million in salary-cap space. However, if they were to let him go before the franchise would take a $23 million cap hit. Jones missed seven games last season and teams might not want to risk $15 million on a veteran who was banged up last season.
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Now is the Perfect Time to Trade Julio Jones
Julio Jones’ health remains a question mark as he enters the 2021 season at 32-years old.
Jones finished the 2020 season with 51 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns in 9 games. His hamstring injury played a big role in his decrease in production and you could tell his was struggling to get up from every hit he took.
Still, when Jones is feeling good he’s got enough juice let in the tank to be a playmaker and a handful of teams could use a reliable pass-catcher. Of course, the longtime Falcons dynamic duo of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones will be missed, but Atlanta has Calvin Ridley now. Ridley eclipsed his first 1,000-yard season and is destined for another one this year. Russell Gage has also emerged and we can’t leave out the Falcons drafting Kyle Pitts to add to Ryan’s weapon-filled offense.
It’s the perfect time to move on from Jones.
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What Falcons Picking Up Calvin Ridley’s 5th-Year Option Means
Just a few days ago, the Falcons picked up Calvin Ridley’s 2022 option, and for good reason. Last season Ridley notched his first 1,000-yard season.
But by picking up his 5th-year option, the Falcons are set to owe him $11.12 million for the 2022 season, which is going to take a toll on the Falcons salary cap.
The Falcons are estimated to have a cap of $200 million in 2022. However, over $70 million of it will be going to Matt Ryan ($40.53 million), Julio Jones ($19.26 million), and Calvin Ridley ($11.12 million).
The Falcons reconstructed Ryan’s contract this offseason which has him stay put until at least 2023. The only one left out of a solid deal was Jones.