Peter King: '60-40 That Julio Jones Is Traded by Labor Day' Amid Falcons Rumors

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2021

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020 file photo, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) warms up before an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in Atlanta.  Julio Jones' nagging hamstring injury has made his value more obvious than ever for the Atlanta Falcons. Jones has missed four games this season and his status is in doubt for the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik, File)
Danny Karnik/Associated Press

Julio Jones might have played his last game with the Atlanta Falcons.

"I'd call it 60-40 that Julio Jones is traded by Labor Day," Peter King of NBC Sports said Monday.

A trade likely couldn't happen until after June 1 because of cap reasons, but the Falcons were taking calls about possible trades involving the star receiver before the NFL draft, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Jones has a $23.05 million cap hit for 2021, but the team can save $15.3 million against next year's cap by trading him after June 1, per Spotrac.

King previously reported that the Falcons could put together the framework of a trade before officially making the move June 2. He named the Las Vegas Raiders, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens as possible landing spots.

Atlanta spent its No. 4 overall draft pick on tight end Kyle Pitts, who could help replace Jones' size and agility in the passing attack. The squad already has Calvin Ridley, who is coming off a breakout 2020 season with 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns. Russell Gage has also proved he can handle a bigger role.

The Falcons had the No. 5 passing attack in the NFL last year even with Jones limited to just nine games, which means the unit can stay successful without him if needed.

After three straight losing seasons, it will also help to move forward with young talent while getting more assets that can help the rebuild.

With that said, Jones can still help another team on the field. The 32-year-old has been selected to seven Pro Bowls, including six straight before last year. He has averaged 95.5 receiving yards per game in his career, the most in NFL history, while his 85.7 per game in 2020 was still seventh in the league even in a down year riddled by injuries.

His resume and skill set should mean there are plenty of interested teams as long as they have enough room under the salary cap.