The Atlanta Falcons and Julio Jones fiasco has evolved in a major way this week. In the midst of reports indicating Jones was being shopped, we heard straight from the horse's mouth on Monday that he's "out of there." It was then reported that Jones was the first one to approach the Falcons about a change of scenery, and a recent development says his wish may be granted soon.
On Thursday, ESPN's Dianna Russini reported that the Falcons have discussed several trade offers for Jones, including an offer for a future first-round pick. According to Russini, there is a sense around the league a trade could go down as early as next week. Reports state that the Falcons' asking price for Jones was at least at one time a first-round pick -- which does sound a bit rich for the 32-year-old wideout who played in just nine games last season, but there is now reportedly at least one team who is ready to pay that price.
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Jones reportedly has the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans as two of his top landing spots. Titans star receiver A.J. Brown has been relentless in his attempt to lure Jones to Tennessee, and Russini confirmed on Thursday that the Titans are indeed one of the teams that has spoken with the Falcons about a potential deal. They are reportedly still in discussions, but Russini was told the Titans are a "long shot" to land Jones.
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Jones has been one of the best receivers in the NFL over the last decade, but he was limited in 2020 due to a hamstring issue. Still, he boasted a 75% catch rate. The financial side of the matter presents a potential holdup for interested teams, as Jones has a base salary of $15.3 million for the 2021 season, and $11.51 million during the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
A major reason Atlanta is interested in dealing away its star receiver has to do with cap space. If the Falcons wait until June 2 to deal Jones, Atlanta would pick up the $15.3 million in cap room. CBS Sports cap expert Joel Corry penned a piece earlier this week hypothesizing an interested trade partner could offer a conditional 2022 second-round pick, which would become a first if Jones makes the Pro Bowl or reaches certain statistical marks. It's unknown how many teams have approached the Falcons in the last week, but apparently we should be bracing for a deal sooner rather than later.