The Cleveland Browns appear set at wide receiver with Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry headlining a strong group. However, the AFC North squad is listed among the top landing spots for Falcons Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones, who appears on his way out of Atlanta.
In odds released by DraftKings Sportsbook, Cleveland comes in at +1,000 to land Jones, behind only the 49ers, Jaguars, Raiders, Colts, Ravens, Patriots and Chargers. Long odds, but still, curious to see the Browns so high.
Jones made it clear that he wants out of Atlanta during a candid phone call live on air with Shannon Sharpe on the FS1’s “Undisputed” show.
“I’m outta there,” Jones said.
The Falcons have said they’ll take calls on Jones to gauge the market.
“That’s one of those things when you’re doing things the right way in an organization, you have to listen if people call, on any player,” Fontenot told Fox 5. “Especially, we are in a difficult cap situation, that’s just the circumstance and it’s not a surprise for us. We knew the circumstance we were in. Our administration has done an excellent job up to this point getting us in a position to be able to manage the cap, and 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 we have to determine what’s best for the organization and we have to handle everything with class.”
Browns Not Logical Landing Spot for Julio Jones
Jones is 32 and is coming off a season where he missed seven games due to injury. However, he still has big-play potential, just a year removed from a 1,394-yards, six-touchdown season where he averaged 92.9 yards per game.
He’s led the league in receiving yards twice and his 95.5 yards per game is the highest average in NFL history, per ESPN. His stacked resume also includes seven Pro Bowl selections and two first-team All-Pro nods.
The problem is that Jones is due a massive salary next season. He’s due a guaranteed base salary of $15.3 million next season and will cost $23.05 million against the cap. He’ll count $19.263 million against the cap in 2022 and 2023.
That doesn’t bode well for the Browns, who are already spending more than $30 million at the wide receiver position between Landry ($14.75 million) and Beckham ($15.750 million). Perhaps the Browns would opt to trade one of the two for Jones, although it’s questionable what Cleveland would gain in that move.
The Falcons don’t want to trade Jones to an NFC squad, as noted by ESPN, so the Browns do hold that card. Browns general manager Andrew Berry has also been an aggressive deal-maker, so if he prefers Jones over one of his two current stars, he could choose to wheel and deal.
Odell Beckham Rehabbing From Torn ACL
Beckham is coming off an ACL tear he suffered last season and has been rehabbing relentlessly. Beckham is expected to be ready for Week 1, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, but the three-time Pro Bowler has seen his career altered by injuries, particularly during his time with the Browns.
He spent 2019 playing through multiple injuries that required core surgery after the season, although still managed to break the 1,000-yard mark and collected four touchdowns.
Last season ended abruptly for Beckham with a torn ACL in October against the Bengals. Prior to the injury, Beckham recorded 23 catches on 43 targets for 319 yards and three touchdowns, also adding a rushing score.