Following yet another down season, Atlanta Falcons rumors had suggested that quarterback Matt Ryan and Julio Jones could be traded this spring.
On the surface, it seemed to make some sense. Atlanta fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff five games into what ended up being a four-win season. Whoever the team was going to bring on to replace this power tandem would have a built-in relationship with either star player.
Atlanta Falcons will not trade Matt Ryan or Julio Jones
Reporting from the site of Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay on Tuesday, NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero relayed a report indicating that the Falcons won’t consider trading Ryan or Jones.
At least when it comes to Ryan, this became clear after Atlanta hired Smith to be its next head coach. The former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator helped turn around Ryan Tannehill’s career after he existed in mediocrity with the Miami Dolphins.
Given Ryan’s track record of success as a former league MVP, it stands to reason that Smith was brought in to help him return to form under center.
Falcons rumors: Could Julio Jones be traded?
Jones is in a bit different of a situation. The soon-to-be 32-year-old receiver is coming off an injury-plagued 2020 campaign that saw him miss seven games. He’s also set to count $23.05 million against the cap for a Falcons team that currently finds itself $28.22 million over the estimated 2021 NFL salary cap.
Even then, Falcons rumors suggesting a Jones trade never really took into account the fact that they would take a $38.55 million dead cap hit by moving on from the future Hall of Fame receiver. Even if said dead cap hit were spread throughout the remainder of his contract — through the 2023 season — the Falcons would only save roughly $14 million this coming season.
The Falcons find themselves in a weird position in that they are not in full-scale rebuild mode. The team also lacks the necessary talent on defense to be considered playoff contenders, as evidenced by last season’s performance.
Moving on from Ryan and Jones in a trade would lead to a long-term rebuild in Atlanta. There’s no other way to go about it. At the very least, retaining the two could lead to bottom-end playoff contention if the issues we saw on defense last season are fixed.
All of this comes amid an early portion of the NFL offseason that has been filled with rumors about top-end quarterbacks being traded. Heck, the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions pulled off a blockbuster of epic proportions this past weekend with Matthew Stafford heading to Southern California.
At least for now, an NFL offseason that promises to be extremely busy won’t include Atlanta moving off either Matt Ryan or Julio Jones. That makes sense given what we have seen from this organization since the end of the 2020 campaign.
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