One day after Las Vegas bookmakers unveiled the Cowboys’ odds of acquiring Julio Jones, the superstar Atlanta Falcons wide receiver purportedly was spotted in Dallas rocking blue and white attire.
A Twitter user named Mike Starkey on Saturday uploaded a photo of himself and Jones, along with the caption: “Met Julio Jones in Dallas, wearing a cowboys jersey…wouldn’t be mad! @AdamSchefter”
— Mike Starkey (@MikeStarkey2) May 22, 2021
Some have questioned the authenticity of the picture, arguing that it may have been taken prior to last month’s NFL Draft. But the tweet itself went viral Sunday upon making its way to the timeline of Cowboys legend Michael Irvin, who shared it with his 653,000-plus followers.
— Michael Irvin (@michaelirvin88) May 23, 2021
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Reporter Pooh-Poohs Trade Rumor
Responding to the photo’s reveal, and a subsequent question proposing the Cowboys send WR Michael Gallup and a draft pick to Atlanta in exchange for Jones, in-house David Helman of the team’s official website threw cold water on the fantastical trade notion.
“The Cowboys have one of the best WR corps in the league and like $10 in cap space. This wouldn’t make sense on any level, but I mean it’s May so whatevs,” Helman tweeted Sunday.
Helman also faced queries about the possibility of swapping $100 million wideout Amari Cooper, rather than Gallup, in a would-be Jones deal. Cowboys fans pointed to Cooper’s salary as the impetus to part ways — logic defied by common sense.
“Julio is better than Amari right now. He’s also significantly older with a longer list of injuries. I’ll take Amari,” Helman opined.
He added: “1. it’s absurdly premature to assume that [Dallas won’t re-sign Cooper]. Cooper’s guarantees are done in 2022. they can do whatever they want. 2. having 3 badass WRs who have chemistry with Dak is wayyyy more likely to pay off in 2021 than adding a mid-tier defensive starter”
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Cowboys Among Favorites for Jones
As mentioned, it was initially reported on May 21 that Dallas (+1600) opened with the 11-best odds of landing the seven-time Pro Bowler. Baltimore (+300) was installed as the frontrunner for Jones, followed by the San Francisco 49ers (+350), New England Patriots (+450), Los Angles Chargers (+600), and Tennessee Titans (+600).
Rounding out the top 12 are the Indianapolis Colts (+800), Green Bay Packers (+900), Philadelphia Eagles (+1000), Las Vegas Raiders (+1000), Buffalo Bills (+1600), New York Giants (+1600), and the Cowboys.
Julio Jones next team IF traded:
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) May 21, 2021
Whispers surrounding Jones’ future with the Falcons first popped up in 2020 but quieted down this offseason after the club restructured and retained quarterback Matt Ryan, presumably keeping the band together for another go-round.
However, The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz brought Jones’ tenuous status back to the forefront, reporting on May 20 that Atlanta “would like” to trade the 32-year-old before the 2021 campaign.
“Many teams would like Jones on their roster, but not many realistically can trade for him,” Schultz wrote. “The Falcons’ hope is that enough teams (think: three to five) express interest to create a market. Think of 1) teams with enough cap space to absorb Jones’ $15.3 million base salary; 2) contending teams that believe he would put them over the top; 3) young teams looking to take the next step. Among the teams that could fall into these categories: Ravens, 49ers, Patriots, Colts and Chargers. One league source said the Titans also may show interest, but they also are close to the cap ceiling.”
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL