Sometimes you have to risk it, to get the biscuit. That should be the mentality for New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas heading into the 2021 NFL Draft.
With 21 picks over the next two years, he has the luxury of getting creative to add talent to this roster. One player that he should at the very least execute some due diligence on is seven-time Pro Bowler Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons.
NFL insider Ian Rapoport revealed on Monday that the Falcons “have received” calls from teams inquiring about a potential trade for the former All-Pro.
New Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot was asked about the trade rumors regarding one of his biggest stars and he didn’t shut them down:
“You have to listen when people call on any player. Especially for us, we’re in a difficult cap situation. That’s just the circumstance. We still have more work to do as far as the cap is concerned. So when teams call about any players, we have to listen, we have to weigh it.”
“We are in a difficult cap situation. That’s just the circumstance … When teams call about any players, we have to listen.”
🚨NEW — #Falcons GM Terry Fontenot responds to multiple reports that the team is considering trading Julio Jones pic.twitter.com/DbD9KZgJyU
— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) April 27, 2021
Atlanta Falcons are in salary cap hell
The Atlanta Falcons have the lowest cap space in the league ($6M over the cap), per OTC. If a Julio Jones trade was going to materialize it wouldn’t become official until after June 1.
So why can’t the trade happen this weekend?
Adam Schefter of ESPN dove into the contractual details to give us a clearer picture:
- If the Falcons traded Julio Jones after June 1 (they would save $15M against the cap)
- If Atlanta traded him before June 1 (they would eat a $23M cap hit)
In other words, a Julio Jones trade prior to June 1 would be impossible, but after? Seems more likely than not.
If and when a team acquired Julio Jones, this is what’s remaining on his contract (per NFL insider Field Yates):
- 2021: $15.3M
- 2022: $11.5M
- 2023: $11.5M
That 2021 cap number above is massive. How massive? It’s the second-highest cap hit of any non-quarterback in 2021 (the only player that is higher is pass-rusher Frank Clark), per Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus.
So what would it cost to trade for Julio Jones?
“I think the trade package for Julio Jones is going to be a second and some change. It’s not because he’s not a good player. He’s had some injuries and Jones is going to cost you a lot of money.” – Austin Gayle of PFF on The Manchild Show with Boy Green.
— The Manchild Show with Boy Green (@Manchild_Show) April 27, 2021
With all of that being said, why wouldn’t the New York Jets jump into the Julio Jones sweepstakes?
Per Over The Cap, the Jets have the third-most cap space in the league, so they could absorb Julio’s contract. Plus the compensation isn’t wild. A second and some change is super doable for the Jets who have 21 selections over the next two NFL Drafts.
21 players getting drafted and making the final 53 isn’t very realistic. Don’t pull a John Idzik strategy, stand pat and just draft all the players in your spot without considering trades. That’s how you get fired.
There are two things the Jets need at wide receiver: speed and a proven No. 1 guy. Julio Jones could provide you both.
Jones is 32 years old and normally advocating to trade for players in that age range doesn’t make sense, but this is a special circumstance.
The Jets are taking a quarterback with the No. 2 pick and they owe it to that player and themselves to surround him with as much talent as possible. Adding one of the most dynamic wide receivers of this generation sounds like a pretty good step in the right direction.