After months of talk about his future, it looks like Julio Jones may well be on his way from the Falcons after revealing on an interview that he is “out of there”.
I have to admit I didn’t believe any of the rumours around the future of the perennial all-pro, so the interview with Shannon Sharpe yesterday came as a little bit of a shock for me.
It now appears that he requested a trade a couple of months back and the team agreed to listen to offers, I can only assume the delay in any progress has led to him to try and force their hand a little here.
It looks like they’re after a first round pick for him, which a couple of years ago would have been great value, but at the age of 32 is he worth giving up a first rounder and taking on $16m for this year? Especially after missing 7 games last season through injury. If it’s something that could linger there’s a chance that he might not ever play a full 16 games again.
There’s no doubting in my mind that Julio has been the best WR (Wide Receiver) in the league in the decade since he was drafted. He’s led the league twice in receiving yards, has seven pro-bowl selections and has been a pro-bowler four times during that time.
His best season statistically was in 2015 where he finished the regular season with 1,871 yards and eight TDs (touchdowns), one of the two years where he led the league and that yardage is good for the second-most by any player in a single season behind Calvin Johnsons 1,964 yards.
The best season he’s had at Atlanta though has to be the Superbowl run where he finished just over 1,400 yards and racked up three TDs in the post-season. While he only had four receptions in the Superbowl, he did manage to make one of the best catches seen in the big game, but to no avail as the Falcons famously gave up the game from 28-3.
So Where Is He Going to End Up?
He said in the interview that he wants to win, so that rules out half of the league, and he stated that it won’t be the Cowboys, so they’re out of the running as well.
He doesn’t have a ‘no-trade’ clause in his contract, so the Falcons could trade him to whoever offers the best deal to them. But given his 10 years of service, it seems likely they’d do their best to facilitate something that’s good for both team and player. We’re looking at a team looking to make a run this year, and with $15m+ of cap space at the moment, so that narrows it down significantly.
The most likely destination at the moment seems to be the New England Patriots. Jones has said he would like to play with Cam Newton and while the Pats have been throwing the money around, they do have the cap space available, if they wanted to add a truly elite talent to their passing game for this year it would make sense for all.
The Tennessee Titans are desperately shallow in the passing game behind AJ Brown and adding him to Brown and Henry would be good for all concerned as well.
The Ravens and Dolphins are next up in the betting, and while it makes sense, I don’t see the Ravens making that move. The Dolphins could do it, but I personally feel they’re still a year from competing so it doesn’t seem likely to me.
Finishing off the possibilities on the AFC (American Football Conference) side of things, the Colts and Chargers both have the cap space and adding Julio to Keenan Allen would be rather helpful for Justin Herbert and turn the Chargers into probable contenders for this season. The Colts could do with help alongside TY Hilton and Michael Pittman and have shown intent by using their first-rounder last year to pick up Deforest Buckner.
The NFC (National Football Conference) side of the ball seems less likely, but the potential suitors would be the 49ers who have a lot of YAC (Yards After Catch) guys without a proper WR1 and the Packers. But imagine Adams on one side and Julio on the other though.
They are listing the Cowboys still, as well as the Eagles and Giants, but if he wants to go somewhere to win he’s not going to go to also-rans in the NFC East.
Where’s My Money Going?
It’s boring but I would be backing him to the Patriots. It’s not going to make you rich at odds-on but seems the most likely.
As a longer shot? A move to the Chargers would be fantastic for team, player and fans, and at +1400 it’s got to be worth a few bucks.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.