The Atlanta Falcons have already made two huge changes this season, with rumors swirling that Matt Ryan or Julio Jones could be on the trade block. However, with the NFL trade deadline drawing closer, don’t expect any blockbuster trades.
Ryan and Jones have been one of the NFL’s best quarterback-receiver duos since they entered the league. With the Falcons stumbling to a 1-5 record this season, rumors started swirling that one or both stars could be traded.
Falcons rumors: Matt Ryan and Julio Jones not available at NFL trade deadline
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, neither Ryan nor Jones will be traded by the deadline on Nov. 3. As one source described it, the trade rumors were viewed as “ridiculous” around the league.
On its face, trading Jones or Ryan for a haul of draft picks makes sense. The Falcons would seemingly be headed for a rebuild, seeking a new general manager and head coach, so acquiring a plethora of picks in a loaded 2021 NFL Draft class makes sense.
Of course, the reality is far more complicated. The Falcons could believe they have a shot to contend in 2021, especially after adding a top-five pick to their roster next offseason. Even if they wanted to tear it down, trading Ryan or Jones doesn’t make financial sense.
Ryan carries a cap charge of $44.4 million next season, something Atlanta can’t escape with a trade. If the Falcons wanted to move Jones, that would carry a $23.25 million financial hit. Given the NFL salary cap is expected to plummet next year, due to lost stadium revenue.
Atlanta was already projected to be $27 million over the 2021 salary cap next season, per OverTheCap.com. Trading a Pro Bowl quarterback or All-Pro receiver, players beloved by the fans and in the community, never made sense.
Don’t count out the Falcons still being sellers at the NFL trade deadline. The team could trade center Alex Mack, guard James Carpenter, safety Ricardo Allen or edge rusher Takkarist McKinley. While those players would only net mid-round picks, in the best-case scenario, that would still give the Falcons more options in the 2021 NFL Draft.