Trading Julio Jones is a terrible, horrible idea for the Atlanta Falcons that seems counter to everything the team is trying to achieve, but nevertheless the team seems hell bent on making it happen.
Atlanta made the conscious decision not to select a quarterback in the 2021 draft, reaffirming their commitment to Matt Ryan for at least one more year. Make no mistake: This was not a bad choice. Honestly, I think Kyle Pitts could end up being the best player in the draft period — but that doesn’t make trading away one of the best receivers in the NFL a good decision, even if the Falcons can get a good return.
Such is life, and the Falcons are reportedly taking offers — and even after a receiver-heavy draft there are several teams who shouldn’t think twice about make a deal for Jones.
At the top of this list, and with a bullet is the Packers. Green Bay is in limbo with Aaron Rodgers, and trying to convince the MVP to return. In order to do this Rodgers will need to see significant change, and trading for Jones would definitely represent that.
The Packers were so, so close to making the Super Bowl last year, and got bounced out primarily because the Buccaneers were able to contain Davante Adams, and the Packers had no other options. This lack of weapons was highlighted even more, when the team chose not to select a receiver in the first round of the draft — intensifying the breaking point between Rodgers and the organization.
I’m not saying a trade for Jones would be enough to mend the the rift between the sides, but it would be a start, and might just be enough to turn the Packers into a Super Bowl team.
A similar “missing piece” landing spot, Jones’ skillset meshed perfectly with Lamar Jackson. On the surface the Ravens might have what they need at the position with Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins and rookie Rashod Bateman, but that’s putting a lot of faith in Watkins regaining his form as a starter or Bateman being ready from day one.
Trading for Jones immediately deepens the receiving corps and allows the team some room for error on those aforementioned receivers. At this point the Ravens are deep on current and future talent after years of smart drafting, giving them the luxury of dealing for future assets to make a push deeper in the playoffs, or even back to the Super Bowl.
The Colts are revamping their entire offense around Carson Wentz and need to give him a good boost to regain his confidence. T.Y. Hilton certainly will welcome a bigger-armed quarterback, but he’s also 31-years-old and coming off one of his worst seasons.
Widely believed to be in the market for a top receiver this draft, the Colts went in a different direction, bolstering their defense with Kwity Paye. Julio Jones would immediately provide a boost and solidify the team’s push to take over the AFC South.
This is purely a move that takes into account the fact the Dolphins are rebuilding faster than anyone thought, and at this point they have tremendous draft capital. While Miami did invest a top pick into Jaylen Waddle, and already have DeVante Parker, there’s no reason they shouldn’t get a player like Jones and push the Bills in the NFC East.
With that suite of weapons the team should be able to quickly acknowledge whether Tua Tagovailoa is their long-term answer at the position, and it would immediately turn the team into a major playoff contender.
But in the end ...
The Falcons shouldn’t be dumb, and just keep Jones. He’s too good, means too much to their offense, and if Atlanta are serious about trying to keep playing with what they have, then he needs to stick around.