Let me preface this by saying that I really don’t want to see Julio Jones playing anywhere but Atlanta. What I want is at least one single year where we get to marvel at Jones, Kyle Pitts, and Calvin Ridley befuddling defenses on the same field. But what I want and reality often don’t intersect, so here we are.
The rumors started in the early days of the Arthur Smith/Terry Fontenot regime, and we all understand why. Jones is 32 years old and played in just nine games in 2020. He carries a $23 million-plus cap hit for 2021. Now that we’ve passed June 1, if the Falcons trade Jones, they’ll save $15.3 million in 2021, and take on $7.75 million in dead cap this year, and $15.5 million next year.
As recently as late April, information started trickling out suggesting that while the Falcons were listening to offers for the dynamic receiver, a trade wasn’t imminent. And in late May, we learned that Julio apparently requested a trade months ago.
The drama ratcheted up in late May, when Jones appeared via phone on Undisputed with Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless and said he wants out of Atlanta and wants to win. Much to Skip’s chagrin, I’m sure, Julio also made it clear he doesn’t want to play for the Cowboys. Now that it’s clear that Jones doesn’t want to play for the Falcons in 2021 and beyond, all we can do is wait and see what happens.
The saga surrounding Jones and the Falcons is all over the place, so going forward, we’ll be collecting everything here so you can keep up with the latest.
Julio Jones trade rumors and updates:
June 6, 2021: And it’s official.
We have agreed to terms to trade Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans for a compensation package that includes a 2022 second-round pick.— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) June 6, 2021
Here’s the release from the team:
The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms on a trade that will send wide receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for 2022 second-round and 2023 fourth-round draft picks. The Titans also receive Atlanta’s 2023 sixth-round selection.
Jones was originally selected by the Falcons in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft. Atlanta traded its first-round pick (27th), second and third-round picks in 2011 as well as first and fourth-round picks in 2012 to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for the sixth overall pick to select the Alabama wide out. In 10 seasons in Atlanta, Jones played in 135 games catching 848 passes for 12,896 yards and 60 touchdowns.
A seven-time Pro Bowl selection, two time All-Pro and a member of the NFL’s all-decade team for the 2010s, Jones leaves the Falcons as the club’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and 100-yard games (57). He also owns team records for single-season receptions (136) and receiving yards (1,871) as well as the single-game record for receiving yards (300).
June 6, 2021: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the terms of the trade. A 2022 second-round pick, a 2023 fourth-round pick, and the Falcons will ship their sixth-round pick to Tennessee in 2023. There’s no mention here of the Falcons taking on any of Jones’ significant salary, which is a good thing.
Full terms:— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 6, 2021
The #Falcons get a 2022 2nd round pick and Atlanta gets the titans 4 in 2023 and they give back their 6 in 2023.
The Titans get Julio Jones.
June 6, 2021: Well folks, we might have an answer.
The Falcons are expected to trade Julio Jones to the Titans barring any setbacks in the next 24-48 hours, per sources. The 2 sides still are finalizing compensation but, as one source said, “I feel very good about this happening” If there are no snags, the trade official Monday.— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) June 6, 2021
June 6, 2021: ESPN’s Adam Schefter has more details.
Falcons and Titans still are discussing whether the package for Julio Jones will be a second- and a fifth-round pick, or a second-round pick with a swap of other picks, per sources. But the belief is the agreement will get done. https://t.co/1beR7C7VJi— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 6, 2021
June 5, 2021: Everyone’s favorite former backup quarterback, Kurt Benkert, says Julio wanting to leave and play with a big-armed quarterback isn’t really news, since Julio said it a while back on Benkert’s Twitch channel.
Julio told my twitch chat this months ago. Perks of the channel https://t.co/UtEl04Ioc6— Kurt Benkert (@KurtBenkert) June 5, 2021
June 5, 2021: There may not be much urgency right now as Atlanta seems content to wait to make any moves until they have an offer that isn’t downright insulting, but it’s worth remembering that until the Falcons do something to generate some cap relief, the team can’t actually sign its 2021 rookie class.
As Julio Jones watch continues, Falcons' rookie draft class continues to wait to sign contracts. Some agents of those rookies have been made aware that the team must clear cap space before getting to deals. Team has $446K in space as of today, per ESPN roster management system— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) June 5, 2021
June 4, 2021: Steve Wyche of NFL Network says that he’s hearing there might not be any movement on trading Julio before training camp.
June 3, 2021: Josina Anderson shared that teams are giving the Falcons time to think about what they want to do with Jones. If the offers the team is getting are anything close to what Anderson suggested here, I hope they keep waiting, because that seems like woefully inadequate compensation for a talent like Julio.
Source tonight on the Julio Jones situation in part: "Everyone is giving (the Falcons) time to think about it....."— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) June 4, 2021
This from 1 team preferring to deal a high mid-rounder for the 7x Pro Bowler w/ 6 straight 1300+sea before '20, & for ATL to take on a good share of Jones' salary.
June 3, 2021: I’d take this one with a grain of salt. Once we passed June 1, every day could be the day Julio is traded, and a trade did not happen on June 3.
We’ll update this story as more rumors, news, and information become available.