With the NFL Draft closing in, the Las Vegas Raiders aren’t really thinking about adding veteran talent at the moment. They’ve got plenty of picks to address their needs. However, the Raiders haven’t had the most success in the draft in recent years.
Last year, the team used first and third-round picks to land wide receivers. Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards were very underwhelming as rookies and it’s fair to question if they’ll be the long-term answer at the position. Recently, Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot admitted that his team is taking calls on superstar wide receiver Julio Jones.
“That’s one of those things that, when you’re doing things the right way in the organization, you have to listen to people’s calls on any player,” he told FOX 5 in Atlanta. “And especially because we are in a difficult cap situation. That’s just the circumstance. It’s not a surprise for us — the circumstance we’re in.”
Jones is a seven-time Pro Bowler and still one of the NFL’s best wide receivers. With the Falcons likely entering rebuilding mode, it would be wise to cash in on the 32-year-old superstar before he loses all of his value.
Could Raiders Show Interest in Jones?
This takes us back to the Raiders. The team has been desperate to find an elite wide receiver since Jon Gruden took over the team. They tried bringing in Jordy Nelson, which didn’t lead to much. Then they signed Tyrell Williams and traded for Antonio Brown. Williams isn’t with the team anymore after two injury-plagued seasons and Brown never played a snap for the Raiders. In his Football Morning in America column, Peter King speculated that Las Vegas could take a serious look at Jones.
“Because such a trade wouldn’t be official till June, no picks in this draft could be involved. As for the interested team or teams, I would guess Las Vegas; Jon Gruden couldn’t resist Antonio Brown, and I doubt he could resist Julio Jones,” King wrote.
As King noted, Jones won’t be traded until June due to salary cap reasons. That could be good for the Raiders as they’ll have more time to evaluate their wide receivers and not have to trade a pick in this year’s draft. If Jones was traded to the team, he’d immediately be the best receiver Derek Carr has ever played with.
Should Raiders Trade for Jones?
If this was five years ago, Jones might be worth multiple first-round picks in a trade. He’s just that good. However, the Raiders would be wise to not overpay for the wide receiver. He missed seven games last season due to injury and he’s not getting any younger. Even a wide receiver as great as Jones has a shelf life.
There’s no doubt the Falcons will want a decent haul for him. For a team like the Green Bay Packers or New England Patriots, it might be worth giving up some decent draft capital to land him. The Raiders are still trying to figure things out and have a very young team. A first or second-round pick for Jones is too much for Las Vegas. If Atlanta is willing to take a third-round pick and change, then the team should jump on that. That seems unlikely so the chances of Jones being a Raider are pretty slim.