Yes, you read that correctly.
The Dallas Cowboys now are among potential suitors for reportedly trade-blocked Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, opening with +1600 odds to acquire the seven-time Pro Bowler, per SportsBetting.ag.
Baltimore (+300) is the current frontrunner to land Jones, followed by the San Francisco 49ers (+350), New England Patriots (+450), Los Angles Chargers (+600), and Tennessee Titans (+600).
Rounding out the top 12 are the Indianapolis Colts (+800), Green Bay Packers (+900), Philadelphia Eagles (+1000), Las Vegas Raiders (+1000), Buffalo Bills (+1600), New York Giants (+1600) and Dallas.
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Julio on the Move?
Even by the league’s dog-eat-dog business model, it seems unconscionable that Atlanta would part with Jones, a franchise legend and one of, if not the, best receivers of this generation. Whispers surrounding his future first popped up in 2020 but quieted down this offseason after the club restructured and retained quarterback Matt Ryan, presumably keeping the band together for one more year.
Not so fast. The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz brought Jones’ tenuous status back to the forefront, reporting Wednesday, May 20, 2021, that the Falcons “would like” to trade its former perennial All-Pro prior to the upcoming campaign.
“Many teams would like Jones on their roster, but not many realistically can trade for him,” Schultz wrote. “The Falcons’ hope is that enough teams (think: three to five) express interest to create a market. Think of 1) teams with enough cap space to absorb Jones’ $15.3 million base salary; 2) contending teams that believe he would put them over the top; 3) young teams looking to take the next step. Among the teams that could fall into these categories: Ravens, 49ers, Patriots, Colts and Chargers. One league source said the Titans also may show interest, but they also are close to the cap ceiling.”
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Dallas Unlikely to Bite
It’s become common practice for betting sites to include the Cowboys on these types of landing-spot lists for no other reason than they’re the Cowboys — and its name cache still carries serious weight.
Obviously, though, Dallas has zero need to surrender precious capital for Jones, remarkable as he is. They would be better served maximizing their investment in $100 million WR1 Amari Cooper and former No. 17 overall pick CeeDee Lamb while also placating the likes of Michael Gallup (entering a walk year), Ezekiel Elliott, and Blake Jarwin with pass-catching opportunities.
There, too, is the albatross that is Jones’ $66 million contract. He’s scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency in 2024, when he’ll be 35, and has salary-cap hits of $23.050 million, $19.263 million, and $19.263 million until then, though a potential out exists in 2023, according to Spotrac.com.
“I’d think Atlanta would have suitors if the price is a second-round pick and if Jones is willing to stay on his current contract (three years, about $38.3 million remaining), even though he’s 32 now and lingering hamstring issues cost him half of the 2020 season. But then, if there were a strong market for Jones, I’d think it would’ve materialized by now,” opined Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL