The Julio Jones sweepstakes are about to begin. The Atlanta Falcons are expected to trade the disgruntled sure bet future Hall Of Fame receiver. Unfortunately, don’t expect the rebuilding Detroit Lions to be in the market to add the star pass-catcher.
Earlier in the offseason, the 32-year old receiver requested a trade out of Atlanta. Recently, Jones furthered that notion to NFL Hall Of Famer Shannon Sharpe on his Fox Sports 1 show titled Undisputed. Sharpe called Jones while on the air, and Jones told him that he’s done in Atlanta. That conversation occurred without Jones knowing that he had been live on the air, which likely opens up a whole other can of worms legally for the two sides.
Although the rebuilding Detroit Lions have a glaring need at the receiver position, it’s unlikely Jones ends up in Honolulu blue. Jones is already past the prime of his career, and the injury-plagued receiver will be looking to land with a playoff contender.
The Detroit Lions are not in a position to compete for a playoff spot in 2021 or in the immediate future despite adding a tremendous building block this offseason. Detroit used the seventh overall pick in NFL Draft, selecting offensive tackle Penei Sewell.
That choice helps bolster an offensive line that already performed exceptionally well last season. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), the Lions deployed the 13th ranked OL in football. With the addition of Sewell, I expect the Lions O-line to become a top-five unit this upcoming season.
Rebuilds in the NFL can be completed far more quickly than in other leagues, but while he’s still a valuable weapon, Jones is clearly on the back nine of his career. Understanding that former Detroit Lions receiver Kenny Golladay isn’t in the same category as Jones but still growing into an elite talent at the position, the fact the organization had no desire to retain him tells me they’re also likely out on Jones.
The emergence of Calvin Ridley, along with the overall potential of rookie Kyle Pitts, who the Falcons used the fourth overall pick on in the 2021 NFL Draft, softens the blow for die-hard Falcons fans struggling to accept the idea of moving on from Jones.
Reports suggest that the Falcons prefer to trade Jones to the AFC and may be willing to accept a lesser offer to do so. The one NFC team that is garnering some attention of late is the Los Angeles Rams. The asking price for Jones set by the Falcons is said to be a first-round draft pick.
As you know, the Rams don’t have a first-round pick to offer over the next couple of drafts as they sent a pair of first-round choices plus last year’s third-round pick to the Detroit Lions along with quarterback Jared Goff in exchange for Matthew Stafford.
Keep your eye on the New England Patriots, as I expect they will make a run at adding Jones. The Tennesee Titans are another team that is gaining some momentum throughout the NFL rumor mill. Still, according to NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo, they are considered to be a ‘long-shot.’
Jones is set to carry a cap hit of $23, $19.2, $19.2-million over the next three years of his current contract. He also carries a dead cap number of $40.5 million in 2021. That number decreases significantly over the next two seasons to $17.5 and $7.75.
Detroit Lions 2022 NFL Championship Odds
Per DraftKings: +6,000.