Report: Falcons Think Julio Jones, Shannon Sharpe Interview Hurt Trade Negotiations

Blake SchusterContributor IMay 26, 2021

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 06: Wide receiver Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons during the week 13 NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints on December 06, 2020 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Fox Sports' Shannon Sharpe may have landed one of the scoops of the offseason by calling up Atlanta Falcons wideout Julio Jones on live TV to ask if he's seeking a trade, but the fallout is only beginning to reveal itself. 

According to Michael McCarthy and A.J. Perez of Front Office Sports, the Falcons were "blindsided" by Sharpe's stunt during Monday's episode of Undisputed as well as Jones' response—though it remains unclear if the receiver knew the call was airing on live TV. 

Not only did sources tell FSO the interview has "undercut" their negotiating position in potential trades for Jones, but Fox—one of the league's broadcast partners—could face consequences from the league when it comes to future media access. 

“The Falcons are not going to be happy with this—and they will express their angst to the NFL,” former Green Bay Packers vice president Andrew Brandt told FSO. “Payback’s too strong a word. But they will hope for some kind of stroke down the road.”

If Jones was indeed unaware his call was being recorded and played on TV, he could have legal recourse. Undisputed is taped in Los Angeles, California, which requires two-party consent before recording phone calls, but the most the state could punish Sharpe with is a $2,000 fine and/or a year in jail—however unlikely that scenario may be. 

A local criminal defense attorney told FSO he doubts Jones will pursue that route. 

“It was creative and organic," one source told FSO, "But it was unprofessional as well. You have to tell someone they’re on TV. And not just at the end of the segment to cover your ass.”

As for the Falcons, trading their No. 1 wideout just became significantly more difficult. Not only has Jones made clear he wishes to play for a winner, but he's ruled out playing for the Dallas Cowboys, which expects to contend in the NFC East. 

However another agent told FSO the stunt may have only helped move along trade talks for Jones across the league. 

“He’s a world-class talent regardless of age, health and contract,” the agent said. “If I’m a team like Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Buffalo, Tennessee, Baltimore or Seattle, I’m sending whatever picks I have to Atlanta to get him.”