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Chase Claypool Says He 'Would Love' Steelers to Trade for Julio Jones

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 29, 2021

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool said he'd welcome longtime Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones with open arms if his team pulled off a blockbuster trade.

"I would love him in Pittsburgh," Claypool told TMZ Sports in an interview released Saturday.

The Steelers already have one of the NFL's deepest receiving corps with Claypool joined by Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington, but the 2020 second-round pick said you can't turn down the opportunity to add a player of Jones' caliber.

"We're stacked, but you can never get too many superstars," Claypool told TMZ.

Jones has been the focus of trade rumors for much of the offseason, and the seven-time Pro Bowl selection didn't do anything to dispel the speculation while talking with Fox Sports' Shannon Sharpe earlier this week, saying "I'm out of there" in reference to a question about his future in Atlanta.

The 32-year-old Alabama native didn't know he was live on television when he made those remarks, per SiriusXM's Pat McAfee.

Nevertheless, it's caused the rumor mill to start spinning even more rapidly. ESPN's Dianna Russini reported Thursday a Jones trade could happen "as early as next week."

The Steelers are a long shot in the Jones sweepstakes for a variety of reasons, though.

Pittsburgh has just $7.9 million in space based on its top-51 salary cap, per Spotrac. CBS Sports' Joel Corry noted a team looking to acquire Jones must have at least enough space to cover the veteran wideout's $15.3 million base salary for 2021.

Between the financial constraints and the Steelers' aforementioned crowded receiver group, it doesn't make a ton of sense for the front office to give up assets for another passing-game target unless it's going all-in for one more championship push with Ben Roethlisberger.

Even in that case, however, there are probably better ways to upgrade the roster during the remaining stages of the offseason than targeting another receiver.

The Steelers' current group should be more than serviceable, especially with Claypool potentially taking a step forward after a solid rookie year that saw him record 62 catches for 873 yards and nine touchdowns.

That said, Claypool is right when he says a team can never have enough star power. The Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have used that mindset to capture the last two Super Bowl titles.

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