The Atlanta Falcons’ decision to fire head coach Dan Quinn heading into Week 6 has led to rumors surrounding a Julio Jones trade now that the team’s disastrous season is in the rear-view mirror. In fact, rumors have existed since the NFL trade deadline that Jones could be moved.
“Atlanta is not the appealing job it was two years ago, however. This has the makings of a near-complete teardown, with some people around the league openly wondering whether quarterback Matt Ryan or even wide receiver Julio Jones will be shopped at the Nov. 3 trade deadline,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano reported back in October.
Trade rumors surrounding Julio Jones have not been uncommon in recent years. However, the Falcons’ decision to sign Jones to a three-year, $66 million extension back in Sept. of 2019 complicates things further. They would be taking on a huge salary cap hit by trading the future Hall of Famer, potentially demanding more in a Jones trade in the process.
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As for Jones, he continues to play at a high level. Despite missing seven games to injury this past regular season, the future Hall of Famer recorded 51 receptions for 771 yards. He averaged 1,559 yards from 2015-19. That’s historical stuff right there.
If the Jones’ trade suggestions were to lead to something ahead of NFL free agency, there’s a number of teams who would be interested in his services. Here, we look at the five most-likely Julio Jones trade scenarios.
Julio Jones trade to the Patriots
To say that New England needs an upgrade at wide receiver would be an understatement. After dealing with injuries this past season, Julian Edelman could be gone from New England. Meanwhile, former first-round pick N’Keal Harry failed to step up as a sophomore. He caught just 33 passes in 14 games.
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The Patriots have an ability to acquire someone of Julio Jones’ ilk. It could start with them offering up Harry as well as multiple draft picks. While Harry has not panned out in New England, he’s still young and boasts a tremendous amount of upside. The Falcons could then team Harry up with stud young receiver Calvin Ridley.
Julio Jones trade to the Raiders
It’s not a secret that Raiders head coach Jon Gruden fancies himself some big-name pass catchers. Just ask Antonio Brown, who failed to pan out for this team after a trade ahead of the 2019 NFL season. Rumors will certainly pick up in this regard ahead of the NFL offseason, especially given that Las Vegas would love to find a veteran talent to team up with 2020 first-round pick Henry Ruggs.
Sure the Raiders’ primary issues are on the defensive side of the ball. They yielded 30 points per game during a seven-win 2019 season. Even then, we have to believe Gruden will do his best to bring Jones in to team up with Derek Carr moving forward now that the quarterback is almost guaranteed to return in 2021.
Julio Jones trade to the Titans
What better way to help Ryan Tannehill continue with his tremendous recent performance than to add one of the NFL’s best wide receivers to the mix? Tannehill and his Titans posted an 11-5 regular-season record. For his part, the former Dolphins first-round pick tallied 3,819 yards with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
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Given that Corey Davis is slated to become a free agent, the Titans could use another star receiver to team up with youngster A.J. Brown. Just imagine Jones joining an offense that already boasts Tannehill, two-time reigning rushing champ Derrick Henry and Mr. Brown. That would be nearly unstoppable.
Julio Jones trade to the Seahawks
Seahawks general manager John Schneider has never been bashful about going after top-end players. Just recently, Seattle dealt away multiple first-round picks to the New York Jets for All-Pro safety Jamal Adams. While that might limit what the Seahawks could offer up in a trade, there’s no reason to believe Schneider won’t kick the tires on a potential Julio Jones trade.
Any talk linking Jones to the Pacific Northwest would be sweet music to the ears of one Russell Wilson. He already has one of the top young receivers in the game in the form of D.K. Metcalf. The idea of teaming Jones up with him could be too hard for Schneider and Co. to pass up on. The only issues here are the Seahawks’ cap situation and compensation heading back to Seattle.
Julio Jones trade to the Dolphins
Boasting two first-round picks and multiple second-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, these Dolphins have the assets to pull off a Julio Jones trade. They also have the cap room to make it work. This is something general manager Chris Grier should seriously consider after Miami barely missed out on the playoffs with a 10-6 record in 2020.
Tua Tagovailoa should be back as Miami’s starting quarterback next season. They need to get him some more skill-position talent in order for the young quarterback to prove his worth. In turn, Atlanta could demand a second-round pick and DeVante Parker in a Julio Jones trade.