It is probably the best-known secret in the NFL but as we approach June, the future of Atlanta Falcons star receiver Julio Jones is very much undecided.
Jones had long been mooted for a trade away from the Falcons and he confirmed that this week when asked if he would be remaining with the team next season, simply stating “I’m outta here…” as his response.
So, if that is the case, as we head towards the start of June when a Jones trade will become much more likely due to salary cap issues, where will one of the top receivers in the NFL be catching balls in the fall of 2021 and beyond?
How does Julio Jones look in a Titans uniform?
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— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) May 25, 2021
Why Is Jones Being Moved On?
Teams don’t like letting elite players move on, especially ones that have had huge careers at the team they are with, but the Falcons are in a salary cap bind right now.
Even with Matt Ryan restructuring his deal, the Falcons only have $1m of cap space left and a whole host of signings to make from the draft. With Jones guaranteed a full base salary of $15.3 million in 2021 (and set to cost $23.05 million against the cap this year) there is just no other viable financial option for the Falcons.
Furthermore, Jones may well be ready to move on. At 32-years-old, he doesn’t have too many more runs at the Superbowl left and he is likely to want to sign for a team that is ready to contend immediately over the coming season.
So the question many football fans are asking is, who could that be? And how could any potential landing spot for Jones absorb his contract given the lower salary cap this year?
Potential Landing Spots?
When a player of Julio Jones quality comes on the market, teams sit up and take notice, but given the salary cap situation, there are not too many teams for whom a deal would make sense at the present moment.
One potential and intriguing option could be the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens look sure to be contenders again this season in the AFC North and their run heavy offense would benefit from a genuine elite talent at wide receiver alongside Marquise Brown in the slot and Rashod Bateman on the opposite side.
The Ravens don’t have a huge amount of cap space, but could restructure some deals to make this happen and if it does, they would likely be THE genuine AFC Championship contenders alongside the Chiefs next season.
Titans To Make Move?
Another intriguing option is the AFC South’s Tennessee Titans. After losing Corey Davis (pictured) in free agency, the Titans haven’t really made a great deal of effort to replace him and they have long been linked with a move for Jones.
Titans top receiver A.J.Brown has even tweeted his support for the prospective trade. The move would give the Titans two of the best receivers in the NFL, the best running back and a quarterback who while not yet elite, is heading in that direction after reinvigorating his career. It would also make them real contenders in the AFC too.
Other teams linked with a move for Jones include the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers, while you can’t rule out any franchise from making an offer, it does seem likely that one of these teams will be his eventual landing spot.
That is, of course, unless the Falcons can find a way to persuade him to stay and make it work financially.