It’s no secret the Atlanta Falcons are open to trading All-Pro wideout Julio Jones, but Jeff Schultz of The Athletic received confirmation as to why the Falcons would want to make a deal.
According to Schultz, the “Falcons would like to” trade Jones due to the club’s salary cap situation of just $412,351 in cap space, per Overthecap.com.
Julio Jones trade rumors heating up 👀
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) May 20, 2021
“That doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent that it’s going to happen,” Schultz said. “That doesn’t mean some members of the organization don’t believe the future Hall of Famer can still play, when healthy. But Jones’ availability on the trade market has been clear almost from the time new general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith landed in Atlanta and realized the extent of the team’s salary-cap problems. Anybody who wants to deny that likely is doing so out of mere fandom.”
He also listed possible landing spots for Jones; the San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, and Los Angeles Chargers. Schultz noted that the Tennessee Titans might show interest, though their cap situation may not allow them to strike a deal.
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Julio Jones Recorded His Best Numbers Under Niners Coach Kyle Shanahan
Jones would fit in well in the Bay Area since he already has a sense of familiarity after playing under current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan from 2015-16. In that time frame, Jones totaled 219 catches for 3,280 yards in just 30 regular-season games.
Shanahan’s two seasons as the Falcons offensive coordinator also included both of Jones’ All-Pro campaigns and his best season where he finished with 136 receptions in 2015, which tied for third-most ever. And he had 1,871 yards that put him second to Calvin Johnson’s 1,964-yard single-season record.
A Jones-Shanahan reunion has to be appealing to a team that hasn’t had a 1,000-yard wide receiver since 2014.
Jones didn’t notch 1,000 yards last season due to an ongoing hamstring injury, but in the games that he was able to play, he was still Atlanta’s top playmaker.
Shanahan Seemingly Open to Trade for Jones
Shanahan joined Michael Irvin’s podcast last week where he was asked about the Julio Jones trade rumors and had nothing but praise for the 7X Pro Bowler.
“Julio Jones, for everybody, especially if you had a chance to coach him, he’s what you’re saying and more,” Shanahan said via 49ers Webzone. “I mean, the dude is one-of-a-kind. He makes coaching a lot — a lot — easier. That’s why everyone feels the same about Julio. That’s why I don’t worry about saying that. That’s like common knowledge. Everyone knows Julio is on a different level. That’s why he’s a special guy.
“And I don’t know what their situation is, but I do know everyone feels that way about Julio. … Watch him, and any person will see for themselves that he is a different dude.”
The major downfall with the Niners is that they would not be able to offer up a first-round pick for Jones since they don’t have any in the next two NFL drafts, but still, don’t rule them out just yet––crazier things have happened.