Julio Jones Trade Rumors: Patriots Have Had Internal Discussions About Falcons Star

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 22, 2021

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 08: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 08, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The New England Patriots are reportedly considering making a run at Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones on the trade market.

According to NFL Network's Mike Giardi (h/t NFL.com's Adam Maya), the Pats have had internal discussions about Jones.

Jeff Schultz of The Athletic reported Thursday that the Falcons "would like to" trade Jones, primarily because he is set to earn $15.3 million in 2021 and the Falcons have only $588,018 in cap space.

Schultz mentioned the Patriots as one of a handful of teams that could be in the market for Jones. The others were the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers.

DraftKings Sportsbook released odds Friday for which team Jones will play for when the 2021 season begins. While the Falcons were favored to keep him at -150, the Patriots were tied for the fourth-best odds with the Ravens at +700. The Colts and Chargers were listed at +500.

The Patriots have tried to improve their receiving corps this offseason, signing Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, though they lost Julian Edelman to retirement.

New England got very little production from that group last season, as Jakobi Meyers led the way in receptions (59) and yards (729). Only N'Keal Harry recorded as many as two receiving touchdowns.

Meyers and Harry have potential, and Agholor and Bourne should help, but the Patriots still lack a go-to guy.

While head coach Bill Belichick signed tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, the Patriots could still use an outside threat.

Jones would fit the bill, as the 10-year veteran has been named a Pro Bowler seven times and an All-Pro twice.

The 32-year-old is the Falcons' all-time leader in receptions (848) and receiving yards (12,896), and he is second behind Roddy White (63) with 60 receiving touchdowns.

He finished with 51 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns last season, but he was limited to nine games because of a left hamstring injury. Had Jones been healthy, he almost certainly would have finished with over 1,000 receiving yards for the seventh year in a row.

It is unclear if veteran Cam Newton or rookie first-round pick Mac Jones will be the Patriots' starting quarterback when the 2021 season commences, but either would undoubtedly benefit from such a highly accomplished receiver.