NFL Trade Rumors: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones Seen as Targets Amid Falcons' 1-5 Start

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2020

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) and quarterback Matt Ryan (2) talk during an NFL football training camp practice Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, Pool)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

The Atlanta Falcons have NFL insiders wondering if quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones will be "shopped" ahead of the Nov. 3 trade deadline, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano.

The duo reported Tuesday the Falcons could be heading toward a "near-complete teardown," with Ryan and Jones among the high-profile names to hit the trade block in such an instance.

Atlanta is 1-5 after posting a 7-9 record in each of the past two seasons.

The Falcons scored a 40-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in their first game under interim head coach Raheem Morris, who was promoted from defensive coordinator after Dan Quinn's firing last week.

"It shows what we're capable of doing," Ryan told reporters. "We just have to find a way to be at that level week in and week out."

The biggest hurdle to any potential trades involving Atlanta's offensive stars is their contracts.

Ryan, the 2016 NFL MVP, and Jones, a seven-time Pro Bowler, are both signed through the 2023 season, with the quarterback on a five-year, $150 million contract and the wide receiver having a three-year, $66 million deal.

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Those types of contracts are difficult to move given the NFL's salary cap, particularly in Ryan's case since his cap hit is scheduled to skyrocket to $40.9 million in 2021, per Spotrac.

It's far more likely they can be moved in the offseason, when interested teams could also discuss restructuring options. Atlanta's rebuild may be in full swing by that point if its playoff drought extends to three years.

Both Ryan, 35, and Jones, 31, are likely past their peak seasons but could still make a major impact in the short term after a trade.

For now, the Falcons will attempt to keep turning their 2020 campaign around when they host the Detroit Lions at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.