Julio Jones Trade Rumors: Falcons WR Eyeing Patriots, Titans for Possible Deal

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVMay 25, 2021

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) speaks to a teammate during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Atlanta. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won 31-27. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)
AP Photo/Danny Karnik

Julio Jones is reportedly targeting the New England Patriots or Tennessee Titans as he attempts to force himself out of Atlanta, Chris Simms said Tuesday on PFT Live.

It's unclear if the Patriots or Titans reciprocate those feelings, though both stand out as obvious potential destinations for the future Hall of Famer. Jones told Shannon Sharpe he was "out of here" when asked about his future with Atlanta during Monday's episode of Undisputed.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported Jones first approached the Falcons about trading him in March. Jones told Sharpe his main desire in finding a new NFL home is winning. The Falcons are coming off a 4-12 campaign and have not made the playoffs since 2017.

Atlanta has been floating Jones' name on the trade market since his request but has seemingly found no buyer willing to meet its asking price. Breer noted the Falcons set a first-round price on Jones before the 2021 NFL draft.

A first-round pick seems like a reasonable ask for a player of Jones' caliber. The seven-time Pro Bowler missed seven games in 2020 but remained highly productive when he was on the field, compiling 51 receptions for 771 yards and three touchdowns. His 75 percent catch rate was a career high, and Pro Football Focus gave him an 86.3 overall grade for the season.

Jones' $15.3 million salary is an issue for teams that lack salary-cap maneuverability, but it's slightly below market for a top-10 receiver. The Titans would need to create $11.7 million in space to fit Jones under the cap, whereas the Patriots would not have to restructure any deals to bring him in.

While New England has been active all offseason, the WR1 spot remains lacking on the depth chart. If Bill Belichick wants to cap off his all-in offseason, adding Jones seems like a strong fit.