Falcons GM on Julio Jones Trade Rumors: 'We Have to Listen' to Calls from Teams

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2021

ARCHIVO - En esta foto del domingo 6 de diciembre de 2020, Julio Jones, de los Falcons de Atlanta, calienta antes del partido ante los Saints de Nueva Orleáns  (AP Foto/Danny Karnik, archivo)
Danny Karnik/Associated Press

The Atlanta Falcons aren't going to hang up the phone on any teams interested in trading for wide receiver Julio Jones.

After Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported some teams have called Atlanta about Jones in part because of the NFC South club's "brutal cap situation," Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot discussed the possibility of such a move with Justin Felder of Fox 5 in Atlanta.

"We are in a difficult cap situation," he said. "That's just the circumstance. ... When teams call about any players, then we have to listen."

Rapoport explained any trade involving Jones would have to wait until June for cap reasons.

Atlanta is in such a scenario because it has less than $1 million in cap space and still has to sign draft picks. Peter King noted in his Football Morning in America column that splitting Jones' cap charge between the 2021 and 2022 campaigns in such a trade would save the Falcons more than $15 million in space.

While Jones is one of the best wide receivers of his generation, there is a world where trading him makes sense for Atlanta even beyond just the financial ramifications of such a move.

He is 32 years old and played just nine games because of injuries in 2020. Quarterback Matt Ryan, who turns 36 in May, is under contract through 2023 with a potential out in 2022. A rebuild may be in order, especially if the team selects a quarterback with the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday's NFL draft.

Moving Jones for younger players or draft capital could help accelerate the timeline on such a rebuild all while helping Atlanta get out of some of its cap problems.

Any team that landed the Alabama product would also have a game-changing pass-catcher who is a seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection that led the league in receiving yards in 2015 and 2018.

He posted more than 1,300 receiving yards in six straight seasons from 2014 through 2019 and could make the difference for a contender if he is healthy in 2021.