“The #Falcons have received calls from teams inquiring about possible trades for All-Pro WR Julio Jones, sources say. A trade could not happen for cap reasons before June 1, but teams know Atlanta’s brutal cap situation and are calling. A deal won’t happen now, but later? Maybe”, Rapoport said in a tweet.
If Jones is traded after June 1st, the Falcons have a chance to save $15 million in cap space and if they were to let him go before, then the club would take a $23 million cap hit.
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Terry Fontenot Address the Julio Jones Trade Rumor
That same night, Atlanta Falcons GM Terry Fontenot addressed the rumors in an exclusive interview with Fox 5’s sports reporter Justin Felder.
Felder was direct in asking Fontenot about the trade rumors in which Fontenot was honest about the cap situation.
“You have to listen if people call, so, on any player,” said Fontenot. “And especially, we are in a difficult cap situation. That’s just the circumstance and that’s not a surprise for us.”
The first-year GM noted that the team has a lot of respect for Jones and his worth, but they’re still open to all options.
“That particular player [Jones], we hold him in high regard, he’s special — what he’s done and what he continues to do here,” explained Fontenot. “But we have to consider any players if it’s right for the team because we have to do what’s best for the organization.”
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Jones Doesn’t Have a Desire to Leave Atlanta
Trade rumors spiraled during the season as well and Jones made it clear he didn’t have any desire to leave Atlanta.
“No,” Jones said when he asked if he wanted to get traded, per the Falcons’ official website. “I play football. I know who I am, I know what I got going on. I know what I mean to this team.”
The Falcons’ 7x Pro Bowler has a $66 million dollar contract that runs through 2023, and if the Falcons were to release Jones, they would still owe him up to $31 million. Over the next three years, Jones’s cap numbers look like $23.050 million, $19.263 million, and $19.263 million. Come 2022, however, it wouldn’t cost as much to let him go.
In nine games, Jones finished the 2020 season with 51 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns. Jones’ ACL played a big role in his decrease in production last season but when he is 100% healthy, he still seems to have a lot of juice left in him.
This could be the last season the Falcons have a chance to trade him for a good amount of draft capital since the older he gets, the longer it takes for him to recover from injuries and the more his value goes down. It is also notable to say that Atlanta would still be in good shape without Jones as Calvin Ridley is emerging as a No. 1 receiver and the Falcons have enough draft picks to build around Matt Ryan.
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