According to NFL analyst Adam Rank, this offseason makes the most sense to move on from the veteran receiver.
In a recent article Rank published, he explained which NFL superstars should be traded over the 2021 offseason and Jones was one of them:
“It seems like a big-name receiver gets dealt every summer. Like the release of another Fast & Furious movie. You just kind of get desensitized to it all. And if I’m talking about Jones, I should also point out that Matt Ryan feels like a candidate to be traded, as well, if Arthur Smith wants to develop his own quarterback. Yes, the contract looks prohibitive at first blush, but stranger things have happened. It’d probably have to be a post-June 1 trade, for dead-cap reasons. Send him to Pittsburgh if you must. Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Moving Jones makes a lot of sense, with the emergence of Calvin Ridley this past season. Ridley had 100-plus receiving yards in five of seven games without Julio, so he’s ready to go. And that’s the thing. Julio just turned 32. He played just nine games last season due to injury. Let him try to get in one last run for a championship on a team that’s kind of close.
The Las Vegas Raiders would be fun, even though Julio can’t play defensive back. Baltimore would also be a nice option. The Ravens need a receiver like a party-goer needs a Burger King drive-thru at the end of the night.”
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Julio Jones’ Contract
The Falcons’ 7x Pro Bowler has a $66 million dollar contract that runs through 2023. If the Falcons were to release Jones this offseason, they would owe him up to $31 million.
Come 2022, the Falcons wouldn’t be taking that big of a hit. Over the next three years, Jones’ cap numbers look like $23.050 million, $19.263 million, and $19.263 million.
In nine games, Jones will finish the 2020 season with 51 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns.
Looking back in 2019, however, Jones proved he was still in his prime after he took over Jerry Rice’s record in receiving yards having 12,000 in less than 17 games. He finished 2019 reeling in 99 catches for 1,394 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
Jones to the Ravens Could Be A Win-Win Trade
Lamar Jackson wasn’t the same MVP caliber this season that we saw in 2019. However, it wasn’t all his fault. We saw a gap in the Ravens offense at the lead wideout position and Jones would create a huge boost for them with Mark Andrews at No. 2 if a trade were to go through.
The Falcons got a taste for what Ryan could do without Jones in the mix with Atlanta ending the season with their passing attack ranking fifth in the league.
It was blatantly obvious Jones’ hamstring played a big role in his production this season but when he is 100% healthy, he is unstoppable and still has juice left in him.
But what’s in it for Atlanta? Well, the Falcons offense doesn’t actually take a big hit and they would get more draft capital to build around Matt Ryan. It’s truly a win-win scenario.