A bit of bad injury news came to light for the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, as it was announced that linebacker Deion Jones will miss the team’s entire offseason program because of a shoulder procedure.
Jones was not spotted at OTAs on Thursday, because he “got something cleaned up” according to Arthur Smith’s report to the media. Soon after, it was discovered that the “clean up” was on the shoulder and that it will ultimately cost Jones all of Atlanta’s upcoming offseason workouts.
Jones won't be here for any of the offseason program after a shoulder procedure. https://t.co/W3vHNEoaig— Josh Kendall (@JoshTheAthletic) May 26, 2022
Jones is coming off of his sixth NFL season. It was one where he played in 16 games and was second on the team with 137 combined tackles and tied for second with 2.0 sacks. He also led the team with eight tackles for loss.
Despite the decent raw statistics, Jones graded out with a horrendous 34.6 overall grade according to PFF in 2021, which was by far the worst of his career and by far the worst on Atlanta’s defense. That’s not counting John Cominsky, who played only 13 snaps.
Among the 58 linebackers who played at least 50% of their team’s snaps in 2021, Jones was graded out by PFF as the fourth worst in the NFL, and he had the single worst coverage grade among all of those specific peers (33.8).
This poor play combined with the fact that he carries the largest cap hit on the team among active players in 2022 ($20,018,431) has fueled a lot of speculation that Jones could be on his way out of Atlanta after June 1. Whether or not this injury complicates those matters is yet to be seen, but either way, the hope will be that Jones is healthy in time for the regular season.
Maybe this shoulder injury played a part in hindering Jones during the season, and a procedure is just what is needed to get him back on track. One thing is for sure, however —wherever he plays next season, whether that be in Atlanta or elsewhere, there will be nowhere to go but up for Jones after 2021.