The Atlanta Falcons may not get the value they would hope for star wide receiver Julio Jones. As we approach June 1, after which a Jones trade would free up over $15 million in cap room for the Falcons, the market for him is starting to take shape.
The Falcons had hoped to get a first-round pick for Jones ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. Given his salary, his relative advanced age for an elite wide receiver at 32, and the fact that he’s coming off of an injury-plagued season, it doesn’t sound like that is very feasible.
“After asking inquiring teams for a first-round pick for Jones before the draft, the climate in the NFL right now isn’t conducive to getting value for an expensive 32-year-old receiver,” Sports Illustrated‘s Albert Breer wrote this week. It sounds like ESPN’s Jeff Darlington is hearing similar things.
“The price already has been plummeting… I honestly do think that we’re looking at the Falcons holding out for maybe a second round pick. Kind of holding onto him until the leverage gets high enough, maybe a bidding war, but we’re really talking about third, second round pick at this point. I would be shocked if he gets traded for anything more.”
.@JeffDarlington on Julio Jones:
“We’re looking at the Falcons holding out for MAYBE a second round pick. … We’re really talking about third, second round pick at this point. I would be shocked if he gets traded for anything more.” pic.twitter.com/cbiJ01m939
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 25, 2021
Julio Jones, who has been very durable throughout his 10-year NFL career, missed seven games last season. He finished with 51 receptions for 771 yards and three touchdowns. It was his first season under 1,394 yards—his 2019 output—since 2013, the only other time year he’s missed significant time due to injury.
At 32, he is getting up there for a top-line wide receiver, though if he can put in a few more years of production around his 2014-2019 peak, he’ll be well-worth a second or third-rounder.
We’re just a few days away from that crucial June 1 date. Considering the Atlanta Falcons have less than $400,000 in cap space and need to sign their rookies, there is plenty of incentive for the team to find a deal and offload his $15.3 million guaranteed salary.
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