The Atlanta Falcons are set to deal the future Hall of Fame wideout as early as this week, according to a recent ESPN report.
But what does Matt Ryan have to say all about losing his No. 1 option after several seasons together?
“He’s been such a great teammate, he’s a hell of a player. 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,” Ryan said during a recent press conference.
While Ryan made it clear he’s not sure what he would do without Jones as his top target, Jones made it clear that he is more than ready to move on. In fact, Jones already has the idea of playing with another quarterback in mind.
“You know who (Jones) really wants to play with? He wants to play with Cam Newton,” Michael Holley reported on “Boston Sports Tonight,” adding that Jones isn’t happy with his current signal-caller. “That’s the other thing: He thinks Matt Ryan has lost a little zing on his deep ball.”
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Matt Ryan and Julio Jones’s History
The Ryan and Jones duo dates way back to 2011 when Jones was drafted sixth overall after the Falcons traded up five draft picks to the Browns.
With Jones as Ryan’s No. 1 option, 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 his partner in crime, Ryan’s numbers drop to a rating of 88.6 with 6,502 yards, 39 touchdowns and 25 interceptions in 25 games.
In the NFL draft last month, the Falcons didn’t turn to a new quarterback with their first-round pick. Instead, they looked to tight end Kyle Pitts at No. 4 overall. Pitts is projected to be Ryan’s new weapon and figures to be Jones’s replacement.
While Ryan isn’t ready to say his goodbyes to Jones just yet, he knows the NFL is a business and it’s up to the big guys to make the move.
“I love Julio, I’ve been so lucky to play with him for the past decade and he’s an unbelievable player,” Ryan said. “I don’t get involved from this side of it. From a teammate, from a player standpoint, he’s my teammate. He’s my guy. You let the other side shake out how it is.”
Atlanta’s Asking Price Could be Too Much
If Jones somehow ends up staying put in Atlanta next season, don’t be surprised.
Yahoo insider Charles Robinson gave an updated report on June 1 that Atlanta wants a first-round pick in any deal for Jones. That price is too high for most teams, but one reportedly has an offer on the table.
On top of a high asking price, Jones could be looking for a new contract in his new home, which could make things messy.
“From what I’ve been told, the price for Julio Jones in talks with at least one team was a first round pick, plus players,” Robinson tweeted. “That’s steep and I have a hard time believing the Falcons get that. And there’s also the reality that Julio may want a new deal, too.”
Of course, if things don’t pan out for Atlanta, then getting “stuck” with Jones for another season wouldn’t be a bad deal––he would just have a lot of apologizing to do to Ryan, the front office and some loyal fans.