Patriots Urged to Use Star as a ‘Trade Chip’ for Julio Jones

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The New England Patriots are said to be the favorites to land Julio Jones in a trade, and the all-world wide receiver reportedly wants to play in Foxboro. Bill Belichick is being urged to do whatever is necessary to pull off the deal, even if it means trading former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore.

USA Today’s Henry McKenna tweeted, “the Patriots could (and should) use Stephon Gilmore as a trade chip for Julio Jones.

Within his article, and while taking a little bit of a swipe at Cam Newton, McKenna wrote:

Gone are the days of Tom Brady. Gone are the days where the quarterback elevates his teammates. Now, the Patriots will need the teammates to elevate the quarterback. This is all to say that Jones could absolutely be an option for New England. And perhaps the Patriots could go so far as to put cornerback Stephon Gilmore on the table in the trade.

While some may argue McKenna is too dismissive of Newton’s potential resurgence, it’s hard to disagree with the benefit of the Patriots’ trading for Jones, even if they have to part ways with Gilmore to get him. McKenna lays out his logic for both teams doing a deal that would see the Patriots sending Gilmore and a mid-round pick to the Falcons for Jones.

For the Falcons, they can build out an ailing secondary, which will help them win now — something they should still be trying to do, even after a brutal year. For New England, well, we’ve already been over why it would want Jones. In the event the Falcons wanted additional compensation, the Patriots could add in a mid-round pick, probably a third-rounder. Jones has indicated he just wants to win at his next destination. That might mean he’s less concerned with his contract, which should look more and more team-friendly over the next three years. Gilmore, meanwhile, seems to want to get an extension and a raise, which he deserves. The Patriots haven’t delivered that raise, not even in a offseason when Belichick spent in free agency like he’s never done before. So if the Falcons want draft compensation to offset their potential financial costs, they should probably squeeze something out of the Patriots. While Atlanta doesn’t have much in the way of money for 2021, it should free up enough cash to give Gilmore a raise, if Jones was off the books.

Trading Gilmore shouldn’t be out of the question for the Patriots, the Falcons seem more likely to be interested in picks over established veterans.

Falcons Seem Much More Likely to Want Picks Over a Veteran

If Atlanta is looking to dump salary and to avoid prolonged commitments to veteran players, acquiring Gilmore seems a bit counterproductive to their plan.

While Gilmore will be a free agent after the upcoming season the former DPOTY is likely to want an extension, and a raise. If he doesn’t get it before the start of the 2021 season, he could become a holdout.

The Falcons should avoid that sort of a distraction. As they prepare for life after quarterback Matt Ryan, there is more value in adding draft assets than a player like Gilmore.

Patriots Would Lessen Their Chances of Contention Without Gilmore

New England has already built a strong roster ahead of the 2021 season. Adding Jones would make them a legit Super Bowl contender.

If the addition comes at the expense of Gilmore’s presence on defense, then it’s still good, but New England’s roster becomes a little less scary. The Patriots would still be a serious problem for the AFC East with Gilmore, but with him and the addition of Jones, they might be the favorites to recapture the division they ran for more than a decade before the stumble in 2020.

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