Matt Ryan Hopes Julio Jones Stays with Falcons, but Doesn't 'Want to Get Involved'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMay 24, 2021

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 15: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates with Matt Ryan #2 after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Matt Ryan would prefer the Atlanta Falcons keep Julio Jones amid trade rumors for the star receiver, although the quarterback understands the business of the NFL.

Ryan discussed a potential Jones trade with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated:

"I hope he’s here. He’s been such an awesome teammate. Really, and I’ve said this before, I don’t think anybody has impacted my career as significantly as him. I’ve been very fortunate to ride along with him for 10 years. So we’ll see what happens. But I also don’t want to get involved in anybody else’s business. That’s for him to handle."

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported prior to the NFL draft the Falcons were receiving calls about a potential trade for Jones, although a deal is unlikely to happen until June 1 because of salary-cap implications.

The Falcons would be left with $23.25 million in dead cap in 2021 if Jones were traded immediately, but the team could spread $15.5 million of that to 2022 after June 1, per Spotrac.

It means Atlanta would save $15.3 million in cap room for next year with a deal while likely returning key assets to build for the future. Breer projected the Falcons could receive a second-round pick in a trade.

Jones is also coming off a year where he missed seven games because of a hamstring injury while Calvin Ridley showed he can be a true No. 1 in his place. After adding tight end Kyle Pitts with the No. 4 pick of the draft, the Falcons still have the pieces to thrive offensively even without Jones.

Ryan would obviously love a chance to throw to Jones, Ridley and Pitts in the lineup together, but it might not be in the best interest of the team long term after a 4-12 season.