Julio Jones has been one of the best wide receivers in the game and in fantasy football for quite some time. Heading into this season however, the Falcons are faced with making some tough choices in regards to whether they want to keep the 32 year old wide receiver on the team. With the Falcons salary cap situation on the tight side, having just over $2 million dollars in cap space, the front office may actually be in on the idea of flipping the franchise wide receiver. I mean, who wouldn’t want a guy like Julio Jones on their team?
The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz broke the news on the recent reports that there would be several teams interested in making Julio Jones addition to their team. While teams may be interested, making the move a reality would be tougher to pull off. To start, a team that would want to add the Falcons wide receiver would have to be in a position to absorb the $15.3 million contract for this year to bring him in. This could be tough for teams that are struggling with their salary cap situations.
In another report from SB Nation’s 49ers writer Kyle Posey, went on to provide context on how some of these interested teams could even pull off the trade and fit Julio Jones into their salary cap. For example, both the Ravens and Titans have $10 million or less of cap space respectively making it a bit more challenging for them to get the deal done. The Ravens, 49ers, and Chargers have a bit more space with the Chargers and Colts at the top of the list at $20.4+ million.
And then most recently, there’s this. Today on Undisputed, Julio Jones spoke on being traded from Atlanta:
Julio Jones speaking on the Falcons and the trade rumors only quantifies the possibility that he may get dealt. And with a nice sprinkle on top, NFL players have started campaigning to bring Julio to their squads.
Is the trading of Julio Jones to any of these teams a good move for fantasy managers?
Depending on the landing spot, of course. Let’s look at a couple of the teams already listed. For me, one of the better landing spots would be the Indianapolis Colts. Not only would Jones land in a spot that ranked 11th in passing yards in 2020 but would give Carson Wentz a bigger number one WR to target. Factor in the weak AFC South division, Jones would be on one of the better teams in the AFC conference.
The Chargers would be another great landing spot for similar reasons. Even with Keenan Allen already the established number one receiver for the Chargers, the sheer amount of volume in the passing game would allow Julio Jones to be a near-instant benefactor of targets from 2nd year QB Justin Herbert. The Chargers had 627 passing attempts last season and ranked 6th in passing yards. The only downside is that if you’re a Mike Williams truther, his fantasy value would likely take a hit as the addition of Jones would drop him to the third or fourth pass-catching option behind returning running back Austin Ekeler and the aforementioned wide receivers.
Finally, the 49ers. Despite the 49ers being known for their dynamic running game, adding Jones would give their passing game a huge boost and take some heat off of their younger but promising wide receivers in Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Also looking at George Kittle too would make a dangerous offense when healthy, that much more deadly. Jimmy Garoppolo could also benefit from having a stud wide receiver too.
While most have been familiar with what the Falcons and Julio Jones have done over his career in fantasy football, recency bias creeps in and can stain one’s perception of a player. Jones dealt with a lot of issues last season but overall has been one of the more dominate wide receivers and fantasy players in the game. Even at 32 years old, Jones is still going to be a force. Now we wait and see where he’ll land if/when he’s dealt.
It seems that a few more teams have thrown there hats into the fray for Julio Jones with the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks, and even the Philadelphia Eagles have been looking to add the Falcons WR to their respective folds. ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio dropped a report on the Julio Jones landing in Tennessee for a 2nd round pick. That reduction in price was also another story making its way through the news cycles. To be honest, reports of what the Falcons want for Julio have been up and down over the last week or two as the Falcons have wanted a first-round pick or a future first-round pick in exchange for trading Jones.
The Seattle Seahawks, the other team that has been mentioned, could actually use Julio Jones. Not only would it give franchise Quarterback Russell Wilson another weapon to throw to but could possibly ease the tensions between the QB and the front office/coaching staff that has seemed to quiet down over the last few weeks as the QB spoke out about his unhappiness with the team earlier in the offseason. Russell Wilson has even spoken to Julio Jones on the chance that they do get together in Seattle per recent reports.
As far as the Eagles go, while they could use Jones’ services their salary cap situation is something that could hinder them from making the move. They do have enough first-round picks to make it happen though. Another reported obstacle is that Jones may want a new contract after being traded and that new deal could potentially push the wide receiver contract ceiling up to $22 million. There seems to be a lot more moving parts as this trade machine keeps moving.