There is no hotter NFL name right now than Julio Jones. The two-time All-Pro wide receiver is up for grabs, the Atlanta Falcons have made that much clear, and the New York Jets are one of the few teams with tools to acquire him.
Jones wasn’t shy about his availability either. Shannon Sharpe called the Falcons star live on an episode of Fox Sports One’s Undisputed, asking Jones if he was going to stay with Atlanta. The response was, “no I’m outta there man.”
ESPN’s Dianna Russini then reported that the Falcons had a first-round pick offer already on the table for the wide-out. Despite that announcement, the price tag seems to have dropped since then according to Pro Football Talk‘s Mike Florio.
Florio believes that Jones will be traded to the Tennessee Titans for a second-round pick, a leading candidate in the NFL rumor mills. Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown openly recruited for Jones via social media, and there is a slight connection with former offensive coordinator Arthur Smith now coaching in Atlanta.
Maybe the Jones deal is already locked up, it’s possible. Either way, we won’t know until after June 1. For now, the list of suitors is growing by the minute:
- Tennessee Titans.
- San Francisco 49ers.
- New England Patriots.
- Seattle Seahawks.
- Baltimore Ravens.
- Los Angeles Rams.
- Indianapolis Colts.
The Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers and Jets have all come up as possible landing spots for the superstar as well, although these rumors have been much more speculative due to team need or cap space.
Speaking of which, Field Yates laid out the exact financial situations of a possible Jones trade:
Although the Jets are nowhere near being considered favorites for the coveted wide receiver, that fact seems to be by choice. Joe Douglas has emphasized building through the draft since he’s arrived in New York, and when he does acquire veterans they tend to be on the other side of 30.
Even so, there are a few Jets-related factors to note as we approach the chaotic Julio Jones sweepstakes.
Douglas Keeps Information in House
The Jets general manager has many different traits of previous executives that have held his position, but one major one is that he keeps a lid on what he plans to do.
Outside of the Zach Wilson draft pick, which was expected by almost everyone around the league, Douglas never seems to give any hints about what free agents or prospects he may be targeting. Did anyone hear a word about Carl Lawson to the Jets? How about Corey Davis, or Sheldon Rankins?
They were all surprises, at least in terms of the player.
Jets Have Ample Resources to Trade for Jones
After the Jamal Adams and Sam Darnold trades, the Jets have an extra first and second next season. If it only costs a high-second to snag a wide receiver that only had one sub-1,000 yard campaign since 2014, that might be hard for Douglas to resist.
Especially when you consider that the general manager is cap-rich. The NFL cap is expected to rise in 2022, so the Jets could have even more money on the way a year from now.
Falcons Hoping to Trade Jones out of Conference
Although the Falcons also stated they would be willing to trade within the NFC, they noted that they would prefer to trade with an AFC team if given the choice. That only cuts the list of suitors in half, but it does give the Jets a slight edge over an NFC adversary.
In terms of the AFC East, the Jets’ main competition is a familiar face, Bill Belichick. The Patriots have had internal discussions about trading for Jones, whatever that means.
You should never make moves based on what a rival might do, but it does add some incentive if the rival is New England. The Jets have more assets than the Pats, meaning Douglas could effectively block Belichick by trading for Jones.