Falcons' Matt Ryan Says 'It's Difficult' to Have Julio Jones Involved in Trade Rumors

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMay 25, 2021

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 23: Matt Ryan #2 and teammate Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons wait to take the field against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is looking to focus on the task at hand despite star receiver Julio Jones' being mentioned in trade rumors.

After Jones told Shannon Sharpe he's "out of there" on Monday's episode of Undisputed in reference to the Falcons, Ryan discussed the situation on The Athletic Football Show (h/t The Athletic):

"The reality is because of his level of success he's had in his career, this is a major story. But within your locker room, this is constantly happening to guys where you're not sure how long they're going to be there. 
"... It's difficult. It's the part of the job that sucks, but you have to just stay in pocket of focusing on we're all here right now, and we all got to focus on what we're going to do together right now."

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Jones asked for a trade a few months ago and the team agreed to listen to offers.

The Falcons would save $15.3 million against the 2021 cap by trading Jones after June 1, per Spotrac, and there would likely be significant demand around the league by that point.

The 32-year-old has earned seven Pro Bowl selections in 10 years, tallying at least 1,300 receiving yards in six of the last seven seasons. His 95.5 receiving yards per game are by far the most in league history.

Jones has also been Ryan's go-to option for much of the past decade, helping the quarterback win the MVP award in 2016 on the way to a Super Bowl appearance.

"I hope he's here. He's been such an awesome teammate," Ryan said of Jones, per Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. "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."

Atlanta would still have exciting weapons even without Jones—including Calvin Ridley and first-round pick Kyle Pitts—giving Ryan plenty to work with in 2021.