Mike Garafolo of NFL Media explains that the Falcons and WR Julio Jones are at this point because Jones is older and wants to win. Beyond that, there’s a new coaching staff in Atlanta and Garafolo says it’s pretty clear both sides will be moving on at some point in the near future.
Garafolo confirms that the Rams and Titans have had conversations with the Falcons. However, the Rams are without first-round picks for the next few years and Atlanta is reportedly seeking one in a deal for Jones.
While that may be the case, Garafolo doesn’t think it will be a “clean” first-round pick heading back to the Falcons for Jones and it’s more likely to include Atlanta including picks of their own to reduce the overall value of the draft to something in the second-round range.
As for the 49ers, Garafolo doesn’t get the sense that they’re close to a deal, as they too are without future first-round picks.
Garafolo seems to think this situation may not be resolved until around the start of training camp.
Yesterday, Jeremy Fowler reported that the 49ers, Titans, Patriots, Rams and Ravens are among the teams in the mix for Jones.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk added that Atlanta is seeking a first-round pick for Jones and wants a team to assume his $15.3 million guaranteed salary in 2021 to go along with another $2 million in guaranteed pay for 2022.
Jones’ $15.3 million base salary for 2021 is a major obstacle for any interested teams to take on. That had led to some speculation the Falcons would be fortunate to get a second-round pick back for Jones. However, these situations are always fluid and this report makes it clear things have shifted to the benefit of Atlanta.
Atlanta must wait until after June 1 to officially trade Jones due to salary cap reasons.
According to Over The Cap, the Falcons would incur a dead money hit of $23.25 million for trading Jones before June 1, but only $7.75 million in dead money for a trade after that date, as well as $15.3 million in cap savings.
Jones, 32, is a former first-round pick of the Falcons back in 2011. He was in the fifth year of his six-year, $81.432 million contract that includes $47 million guaranteed when he agreed to a three-year, $66 million fully guaranteed contract extension in 2019.
In 2020, Jones appeared in nine games for the Falcons and caught 51 passes for 771 yards receiving and three touchdowns.
We’ll have more on Jones as the news is available.