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#pounditMonday, December 6, 2021

Articles tagged: Julio Jones

Julio Jones likely to be traded before training camp begins?

Julio Jones

The chances of a Julio Jones trade look more and more likely as the NFL moves into the latter part of the offseason.

Peter King of NBC Sports recently revealed on his podcast that after speaking with Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot, he got the sense that a Jones trade was more likely than not before training camp.

“The one other thing I left there with is that I don’t think because Julio Jones wasn’t traded on draft weekend, I don’t think that means that he won’t be traded,” King said. “And in fact, I’d say it’s better than 50-50 that he will be traded before training camp begins.

“The reason is, obviously the Falcons are basically in cap jail right now, and they could clear an awful lot of space by trading Julio Jones June 2 or after. Meaning they could separate his cap hit into two years, instead of taking it all now. So, that’s why I still think there’s a good chance he’s gonna get traded.”

King adds that the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Las Vegas Raiders, and New England Patriots could be interested parties. A second-round pick might be enough to get a deal done for the 32-year-old receiver.

It’s the second time we’ve heard about a potential Jones trade in the last couple weeks. The team is currently roughly $14 million over the salary cap when dead cap is included, meaning they have work to do before the season starts to get the roster where it needs to be. Trading Jones would hurt, but it might be the only solution.

Jones was limited to nine games last season due to injury, catching 51 passes for 771 yards and three touchdowns.

Photo: Lisa Ferdinando/U.S. Secretary of Defense via CC-BY 2.0

Falcons entertaining Julio Jones trade offers?

Julio Jones

There have been rumors going back to last year about the Atlanta Falcons potentially trading star wide receiver Julio Jones, and they are not going away as we head into the 2021 season.

The Falcons have received calls from teams that are interested in acquiring Jones, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. While Atlanta would not be able to trade Jones prior to June 1 because of the salary cap implications, Rapoport is not ruling it out.

The Falcons are one of four teams in the NFL with negative effective salary cap space heading into the draft, according to OverTheCap.com. Effective cap space is the maximum amount of salary cap space a team will have after signing 51 players to its active roster.

Matt Ryan restructured his contract last month to give Atlanta an additional $14 million in cap space, and they are still in a tough spot. If they do consider a Jones trade, that would likely be the main reason. The 32-year-old carries a cap hit of $23 million this year and $19 million in 2022.

Jones missed seven games last season after sitting out just four total the previous six. His 771 receiving yards were his lowest total since 2013, when he appeared in just five games.

If you believe what Falcons owner Arthur Blank said about Jones recently, you might think a trade is unlikely. At the very least, it sounds like Atlanta is listening.

Photo: Lisa Ferdinando/U.S. Secretary of Defense via CC-BY 2.0

Arthur Blank makes definitive statement on futures of two Falcons stars

Matt Ryan

The Atlanta Falcons struggled for much of 2020, and while it may make sense to embark on a rebuild, it seems a few franchise stalwarts will be sticking around.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Thursday that he was more or less certain that quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones would remain with the team in 2021.

“Well, I’d be shocked, completely shocked if [Ryan] was not (on the Falcons next year), and it really has nothing to do necessarily with his contract,” Blank told NFL Network, via Nick Shook of NFL.com. “Matt has played at a very high level for us since 2008 when we drafted him. He and Drew Brees  are the only quarterbacks in the history of the NFL that have thrown for more than 4,000 yards over a 10-year period of time consistently. He’s performed beautifully, was MVP of the league one year. So Matt can still play at a very high level and we expect him to be a Falcon next year, fully.”

Jones, who struggled with injuries for much of 2020, is also expected back.

“We expect Julio to be a Falcon, to be playing next year at a very high level as well,” Blank said. “God-willing, taking care of his body, his hamstring will be healed up. He’ll be able to play in more games than he played last year.”

Trades of both players already looked unlikely before Blank’s statements. There are a couple of good reasons for that stance, too.

Report: Falcons will not trade these two superstar players

Matt Ryan

The Atlanta Falcons are coming off their third consecutive losing season, and there has been talk about them potentially undergoing a total rebuild under new head coach Arthur Smith. That is reportedly not going to happen this offseason.

The Falcons have had no discussions about trading quarterback Matt Ryan or star wide receiver Julio Jones, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Pelissero cites two main reasons why the Falcons are not planning to trade Ryan or Jones. One is that Smith is expected to run a similar offense to the one Atlanta ran when Ryan was named NFL MVP in 2016. Another reason is the Falcons would have to absorb significant salary cap penalties if they move on from either player, with Ryan alone carrying a dead cap hit of $44 million.

There was talk prior to the trade deadline this season that the Falcons could entertain trade offers for Ryan and/or Jones. Ryan, 35, has three more years remaining on a contract that pays him $30 million annually. Jones is also signed through 2023 at an average salary of $22 million.

Jones had a very stern response during the season when he was asked if he wanted to be traded.

Julio Jones could be traded by Falcons?

Julio Jones

The Atlanta Falcons are coming off another unsuccessful season, and an extensive rebuild may be in the cards. That has led some to wonder if the team might part with one of its franchise players.

In his recent column collecting predictions by NFL executives, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes that there is some belief that the Falcons could try to shop wide receiver Julio Jones during the offseason. Fowler notes that a deal is unlikely, but one NFC executive points out that salary cap restrictions may force some teams to sell and make big names available on the trade market. Jones, who has a cap hit over $23 million in 2021, could be an option.

Fowler notes that a 31-year-old wide receiver with recurring hamstring injuries would typically be unlikely to attract much interest. However, Jones’ long-term status as one of the game’s best and toughest wide receivers would negate many of the negatives. In addition, the structure of Jones’ contract would allow teams to move on with no financial penalty after one season if things don’t work out.

Jones’ name came up in trade rumors before the deadline, and he made clear where he wants to be in response to those. Still, it may make sense for the Falcons to see what’s out there, even if a trade is probably unlikely.

Photo: Lisa Ferdinando/U.S. Secretary of Defense via CC-BY 2.0

AJ Brown shows respect to Julio Jones with great gesture

AJ Brown

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown is one of the best young wide receivers in the NFL. Julio Jones has been one of the best receivers in football for a decade now, and Brown showed on Sunday that he has great respect for his elders.

Brown showed up to TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars wearing Jones’ No. 11 Atlanta Falcons jersey. He kept the jersey on for pregame warmups.

Brown also wears No. 11 for the Titans, and he has openly said that is because of Jones.

While it’s unusual to see an NFL player wear a jersey from another player and team in warmups, Brown may have wanted to lift Jones’ spirits. The Falcons star is out for Week 14 because of a hamstring injury.

Julio Jones responds to trade rumors

Julio Jones

The Atlanta Falcons aren’t going anywhere this year, and there has been growing chatter that the team could trade some of its stars before the deadline. One of those stars was pretty firm about what he wants to happen.

Wide receiver Julio Jones made it clear he does not want the Falcons to trade him, and remains committed with the organization.

“No,” Jones said when asked if he wanted to be moved, via Kelsey Conway of the team’s official website. “I play football. I know who I am, I know what I got going on. I know what I mean to this team.”

That’s as affirmative as it gets. Jones has never played for another organization and does not want to change that. He signed a new long-term deal with the Falcons a year ago, and though the team is clearly headed nowhere right now, his commitment hasn’t changed.

There’s been a lot of chatter about the Falcons shopping Jones and another key player. For now, it does not seem that’s happening. Jones doesn’t want it to anyway.

Could Falcons shop Matt Ryan, Julio Jones at trade deadline?

Matt Ryan

The Atlanta Falcons played inspired football on Sunday in their first game after former head coach Dan Quinn was fired, but they are still miles from playoff contention. Although trades involving star players are uncommon in the middle of an NFL season, there are some in the know who wonder if the Falcons could consider blowing up their roster.

According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler, there are people around the NFL who wonder if Matt Ryan and/or Julio Jones could be shopped ahead of the trade deadline, which is in two weeks. The belief is that the 1-5 Falcons are leaning toward a complete teardown, so selling off some assets could make sense.

Ryan, 35, has three more years remaining after this season on a contract that pays him $30 million annually. Jones is also signed through 2023 at an average salary of $22 million. Neither player would be easy to trade, but the Falcons may be willing to take less than market value if they can clear the money off their books.

The Falcons have been heading in the wrong direction since their epic collapse in the Super Bowl a few years ago. Team owner Arthur Blank recently made some comments that created doubt over Ryan’s future with the team, so it would not exactly be a shock if Atlanta moves on from him during or after the season.

Julio Jones continues to be bothered by hamstring injury

Julio Jones

The Atlanta Falcons scored 39 points on Sunday, but Julio Jones wasn’t a huge part of the offense. That is apparently because his hamstring issue continues to bother him.

Jones has battled a hamstring injury for several weeks, and it seemed to impact his role in the offense in Week 2. He was targeted just four times and made two catches for 24 yards. One of his targets should have been a 42-yard touchdown, but he dropped the pass.

Jones said after the game that his hamstring was still not quite allowing him to run like he wanted, and was a factor in his disappointing performance.

Jones looked like his usual self in Week 1, catching nine passes for 157 yards. It’s clear he’s still capable of performing. He was limited in practice all week, though, and the situation doesn’t seem to be significantly improving.

The Falcons endured an awful collapse Sunday against the Cowboys. Perhaps that could have been avoided with a healthier Jones.

Julio Jones appears to aggravate knee injury against Bucs

Julio Jones

Julio Jones entered Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers battling a knee injury, and he may have re-aggravated it in the first half.

Jones limped off the field late in the second quarter after being targeted on a Matt Ryan pass that fell incomplete. He then headed to the locker room early and waved to some fans in the stands on his way out.

Jones sat out Wednesday’s practice before being limited on Thursday, which may have had as much to do with veteran maintenance as the actual injury. However, the Falcons have been eliminated from playoff contention and had nothing to play for in Week 17, so it would not be a surprise if they play it safe with their franchise receiver.