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Julio Jones Trade Rumors: 'Falcons Would Like to' Deal WR; Titans 'May Show Interest'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 20, 2021

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons reportedly have a desire to trade potential future Hall of Fame wide receiver Julio Jones before the start of the 2021 season.

According to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, the "Falcons would like to" deal Jones due in large part to a salary cap crunch that has left Atlanta with only $588,018 in cap space.

Schultz listed a few teams that could possibly be in the market for Jones in the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers.

He also noted that a league source said the Tennessee Titans "may show interest," although their cap situation may preclude them from the conversation.

Since entering the NFL as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 draft, Jones has been one of the top wideouts in the game.

In 10 NFL seasons, the 32-year-old has earned seven trips to the Pro Bowl and two First Team All-Pro nods. He was also named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame's All-Decade Team for the 2010s.

Injuries have impacted Jones throughout his career, as he has missed time in six of his 10 seasons, but he has remained productive regardless.

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In 135 career regular-season games, Jones has racked up 848 receptions for 12,896 yards and 60 touchdowns. Included in those numbers are three 100-catch seasons and seven 1,000-yard seasons, including six in a row from 2014-19.

Injuries limited Jones to nine games last season, but he still finished with 51 receptions for 771 yards and three touchdowns. Extrapolated over 16 games, he would have had 90 catches for 1,370 yards and five touchdowns.

That is a high level of production for a receiver entering his second decade in the league, but the Falcons can afford to part with him given their roster.

In his third NFL season in 2020, Calvin Ridley emerged as quarterback Matt Ryan's favorite target, setting career highs with 90 grabs for 1,374 yards, while also reeling in nine touchdowns.

The Falcons selected tight end Kyle Pitts with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Pitts was lauded across the board by draft experts, and it shouldn't take him long to develop into an elite NFL tight end.

Jones' presence gives opposing defenses even more to account for, but given the Falcons' dire financial straits, trading him may be the easiest way to make things right.

Jones is signed through the 2023 season and is set to count $23.05 million against the cap this season, which is a restrictive number for a Falcons team in need of cap relief.

Any number of teams could benefit from acquiring a receiver of Jones' ilk, but Tennessee may be the most intriguing potential landing spot.

The Titans have some cap issues they would have to take care of in their own right, but after losing wide receivers Corey Davis and Adam Humphries, as well as tight end Jonnu Smith in free agency, the Titans could use another pass-catcher to complement A.J. Brown.

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