According to a tweet by ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the Atlanta Falcons continue to discuss several various trade packages for All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones, and a deal could be coming in the near future.
One possible trade package reportedly includes a future first-round pick. It’s unclear at the moment whether that simply means 2022—all first round picks are future ones at this point, after all—or if a team is dangling a first rounder in 2023 or beyond.
A little while ago, Russini made it clear that she’s hearing a team is offering a 2022 first rounder, which would be stunning given that the team had reportedly struggled to get even 2nd rounders in past offers.
The Atlanta Falcons have discussed several trade offers for Julio Jones, including an offer for a future first round draft pick, per sources.— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) May 27, 2021
There is a sense around the league a trade could go down as early as next week.
Adam Schefter reported Monday that the Falcons have been telling teams inquiring about Jones that they would desire a first-round pick in return. He also reported that sentiment around that league was that they would not receive that level of compensation for the star wide receiver.
Therefore, if Russini’s report is accuracy, it could suggest that the market for Jones is heating up as the important date of June 1 quickly approaches. For cap purposes, the Falcons won’t want any deal to become official until after June 1, although it’s possible that news leaks out beforehand if an agreement is reached.
Russini indicates that a trade could happen right around that June 1 date, which falls on Tuesday of next week.
Attention, if not interest, in Jones seemingly peaked on Monday when Shannon Sharpe called the Atlanta superstar live on his show Undisputed. When asked if he wanted to play for the Cowboys or remain in Atlanta, Jones responded, “No, I’m out of there, man.”
Shannon Sharpe just cold called Julio Jones and asked him if he was going to Dallas.— KeatonItReal (@KeatonItReal_) May 24, 2021
This needs to be apart of every day content. pic.twitter.com/0ZA6dve6xn
The call set off a firestorm on social media and indicated for the first time that Jones desired to part ways with the Falcons. The previous notion was that Atlanta’s tight salary cap was the reason general manager Terry Fontenot was fielding calls for Jones, but it is now believed that the organization wanted to respect his request to play elsewhere - for the right trade package.
Of course, the salary cap is still a factor when discussing a potential Jones trade, but given the reported compensation the Falcons are seeking for their wide receiver, it’s clear they aren’t trying to give him away for a meager return.
“If someone calls about any player, we have to discuss it and do what’s right for the team,” Fontenot said of the trade talks before the draft. “That’s what we’re always going to do. But we hold that player in high regard. It’s just we have to look at every option to get where we need to get.”
An added wrinkle coloring this conversation is the second-round pick the Falcons got in return for trading Mohamed Sanu to the New England Patriots during the 2019 season. Even at 32 years old and coming off of a season in which he played only nine games, Jones is considered to be among the best wide receivers in the game. Trading him away for the same compensation the team received for Sanu will feel deflating, given the career he’s had in Atlanta and the affinity many fans have for him.
CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones also recently reported that he’d “be floored if Atlanta dealt him away for anything less than a second-round pick,” suggesting that is the minimum the team is willing to accept in return.
A first-round pick, even a future first-round pick, may make losing Jones more palatable for some, but the conversations about a potential trade seem to be in flux and likely will continue to be for the near future. We’ll see if we get clarity in the form of an actual trade in the next week or so.