This morning on Fox Sports One “Undisputed”, co-star Shannon Sharpe had Julio Jones on the phone live on air. However, it was Jones’ response to Sharpe’s question that confirmed what many believed already. Sharpe asked Jones if he would rather join the Dallas Cowboys or stay with the Atlanta Falcons.
Jones said, “I’m out of there man.”
Sharpe followed that up by asking Jones where he’d like to go, to which Jones replied, “Right now, I want to win.”
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport clarified on twitter Monday afternoon that Jones requested a trade months ago. The Falcons are currently listening to trade offers for the superstar wideout. However, not much is expected for Jones’ service as the market isn’t high on receivers. Not to mention that Jones just turned 32 recently which many view as up there in age for wide outs. The only consolation to this is that any team who trades for Julio is getting him for a discount. The market dictates itself and as of right now he worth a 2022 second round pick and a 2023 third round pick. In spite of this, the falcons will likely receive a 2023 fourth round pick instead of a third.
If Jones’ traded, whoever acquires him must have at least $15.3M in available cap space to take on his contract. In addition to this, the team will have Jones for three full seasons as his contract expires in 2023. Not to mention that for the next two seasons he will be $11.5M. Let’s put into perspective what this looks like. Wideouts making more than Jones are Corey Davis, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, etc. None of these players are in the same league of production as the Alabama product. Currently the Los Angeles Chargers have the draft compensation and cap space to make this work at $21.4M.
Why the Trade Makes Sense
For starters the Chargers are ready to win now and with a player like Julio, he can put them over the top. The Chargers already have their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert. With Herbert entering his second year, the mantra of the NFL as of late is give a young quarterback all the weapons while you can under his rookie contract. With a target like Jones added to the Chargers depth of weapons it makes perfect sense.
This past season Herbert had the greatest rookie season for a quarterback in NFL history and he did this without a line. The Chargers front office took the first step in building a solidified offensive line unit to protect their young QB. Now the next step is to add play makers for Herbert. Although they have the likes of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Jared Cook and Austin Ekeler, adding Jones makes this offense scarier.
The only downside for this trade is Jones’ inability to stay on the field. Last season he missed nearly half the season with a hamstring injury. This isn’t the first time that he’s missed multiple games for a season however. Although he has succumbed to nagging issues, it is clear that when healthy, he is the best receiver in the NFL. Should the Chargers want to make that next step and make a deep playoff run, this is the trade to make.
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