These “rumors” might not actually be rumors as Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot made it clear the Falcons are taking calls and weighing their options.
“The answer to that is just pointing to the cap and pointing to the fact that we’ll answer calls on any players,” Fontenot said via ESPN. “When teams ask about players, we have to answer those calls and we have to listen because we do have to, we knew when we stepped into this we were going to have to make some tough decisions because it is just the reality of it.
“That’s where we are with the salary cap, so we have to make some difficult decisions.”
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, then 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 banged up veteran.
One team, however, might have the cap room to take a chance on the 7x Pro Bowler––the San Francisco 49ers.
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Making Sense of 49ers Trading for Julio Jones
The Niners currently have Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle as their top targets, but throwing in a veteran like Julio Jones could make their offense even scarier… if everyone can stay healthy.
ESPN’s Michael Rothstein recently wrote an article on potential trade suitors for Jones with the 49ers being one of them:
“Reuniting Kyle Shanahan with Jones would be intriguing and with cap room of $17.5 million, there is space to figure out a deal. Compensation would have to come in something other than a first-round pick, though, since San Francisco doesn’t have any in 2022 or 2023 because of the Trey Lance deal. But the Niners could use a receiver, especially since neither Deebo Samuel nor Brandon Aiyuk was incredibly healthy last year. There’s also the Jimmy Garoppolo contract question as well that would seemingly play into any high-money move San Francisco would make. But Jones would fit into the scheme and end up on a contender.”
The problem here is that the Niners might not have the first-round capital that Atlanta is likely looking for since they don’t get a first-round pick in 2022 or 2023. What they do have, however, are some star players on defense that the Falcons could be in the market for.
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Julio Jones Had His Best Years Under Kyle Shanahan
Shanahan’s two seasons as the Falcons offensive coordinator also included both of Jones’ All-Pro campaigns and his best season where he finished with 136 receptions in 2015, which tied for third-most ever. And he had 1,871 yards that put him second to Calvin Johnson’s 1,964-yard single-season record.
A Jones-Shanahan reunion has to be appealing to a team that hasn’t had a 1,000-yard wide receiver since 2014.
Jones didn’t notch 1,000 yards last season due to an ongoing hamstring injury, but in the games that he was able to play, he was still the Falcons’ top playmaker next to Calvin Ridley.
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