Kyle Shanahan on 49ers' Interest in Julio Jones: We're Always interested in Improving

Blake SchusterContributor IMay 25, 2021

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 15: Wide receiver Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons carries the ball against free safety Jimmie Ward #20 of the San Francisco 49ers during the game at Levi's Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan on Tuesday left open the possibility the team will trade for wideout Julio Jones, even if he couldn't mention the seven-time Pro Bowler by name.

Nick Wagoner @nwagoner

#49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said "We're always interested in improving our team... I would never say we're just done" when asked about potential interest in #Falcons WR Julio Jones. Shanahan, of course, can't specifically talk about Jones.

"We're always interested in improving our team," Shanahan told reporters. "... I would never say we're just done."

On Undisputed on Monday, Jones told Fox Sports' Shannon Sharpe, "I'm out of there," and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the 2015 and 2016 All-Pro had requested a trade a few months ago. One of the top receivers in the NFL, Jones should have plenty of suitors on the trade market, and it appears that includes the Niners.

As noted by NFL.com's Nick Shook, it'll take at least $15.3 million in available cap space for an interested team to make Jones' contract fit. Per Over the Cap, San Francisco is one of 10 teams—with the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Washington Football Team, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots—capable of taking on such a cap hit.

If the Niners were to complete a deal for the 32-year-old, Jones would become the top receiving option on a team that features George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel.

Though a left hamstring injury limited the Alabama product to just nine games last year, Jones tallied at least 1,394 receiving yards each year from 2014 to 2019 with 37 touchdowns. Jones has yet to record fewer than 1,000 receiving yards in a season in which he's played at least 14 games.

The No. 6 pick in 2011, Jones said he's looking to join a team that is ready to win. San Francisco certainly qualifies—and that could make the Niners a potential trade partner as training camp nears.

Both the wideout's squad and Shanahan's club recently suffered devastating losses in the Super Bowl. Jones was part of the Falcons team that blew a 28-3 lead to the Patriots at the end of the 2016 season, while the Niners blew a 20-10 lead over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV in February 2020.

A marriage could help both sides get back to that big stage and emerge with the Lombardi Trophy.