A handful of teams have been listed as possible destinations for Jones, with the most recent being the New England Patriots. According to Michael Holley of NBC Sports Boston, Jones is interested in playing with Cam Newton next season if the split happens.
“You know who (Jones) really wants to play with? He wants to play with Cam Newton,” Holley reported on “Boston Sports Tonight,” adding that Jones isn’t happy with his current quarterback. “That’s the other thing: He thinks Matt Ryan has lost a little zing on his deep ball,” Holley said.
NBC Sports Edge reported that “the Patriots, who acquired Mohamed Sanu from the Falcons for a second-rounder in 2019 and have a history of trading for receivers, are one of the teams that could fit his $15.3 million base salary. The Chargers, 49ers, Raiders, and Colts have also been linked as possible landing spots for Jones.”
The trade likely won’t happen until post-June 1 when the Falcons can actually save some cap space instead of taking a massive hit.
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The Falcons Are Having Discussions With New England
The Falcons are taking calls, and the Patriots have been confirmed as one of the teams with a serious interest, per Mike Giardi of NFL Network.
New England is on the lookout for another wide receiver after losing Julian Edelman to retirement. The team drafted rookie receiver Tre Nixon in this year’s NFL draft and signed Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor in free agency. Still, the Patriots could use a playmaking veteran in Julio Jones to help get the franchise back on its feet.
However, what it’s going to come down to is money and what the Patriots can afford to give up and the Falcons won’t settle.
“Our administration has done an excellent job to this point in getting us in position to be able to manage the cap,” Falcons’ general manager Terry Fontenot told FOX5 in April. “Yet, we still have more work to do. So when teams call about any players, then we have to listen and we have to weigh it, and have to determine what’s best for the organization. We have to handle everything with class.
“Obviously, that particular player we hold in high regard. He’s special — what he’s done and what he continues to do here. But we have to consider any players, if it’s right for the team, because we have to do what’s best for this organization.”
Jones was limited to nine games last season due to a hamstring injury and finished the year with 51 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns. A healthy Jones can easily exceed 1,000-yards but it’ll be interesting to see if he can bounce back to 100%. And that’s where some teams might be hesitant since his health is a big question mark.
Ryan Addresses Jones Trade Rumors
While Jones might not have faith in Ryan at QB, Ryan has all the faith in Jones.
“He’s been such a great teammate, he’s a hell of a player,” Ryan said during a press conference on May 18. “I love him. He’s probably impacted my career more significantly than any other player. I’m really fortunate to be around him for as long as I have.”
With Jones as Ryan’s No. 1 target, Ryan has a passer rating of 97.8 with 39,204 yards, 242 touchdowns and 99 interceptions in 134 games, according to Stat Muse. Without Jones, Ryan’s numbers drop to a rating of 88.6 with 6,502 yards, 39 touchdowns and 25 interceptions in 25 games.
The Falcons have added multiple new receiving weapons to their offense, including top tight end Kyle Pitts, so it seems like they have been preparing for this offseason move of losing Jones.
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