Falcons Could Make Massive Trade Before 2021 Season

The Atlanta Falcons are on track to making a massive trade very soon. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Falcons have received calls from teams that are interested in acquiring star wide receiver Julio Jones. If the Falcons were the trade Jones, it couldn't be done until June 1 due to salary cap reasons.

On June 1, the Falcons can split Jones' large cap hit between 2021 and 2022. However, the Falcons could agree to trade Jones for future compensation now by not make it official until June. The report by Rapoport matches what Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated wrote in his weekly column. Breer said he wouldn't be surprised if Jones was traded at some point during the offseason.

"What would it take to get Jones out of Atlanta?" Breer wrote. "My guess is a first-round pick, or some equivalent. He's 32, but he's still shown he can play when healthy, and the three years left on his deal are reasonable ($15.3 million this year, $11.513 million in 2022 and $11.513 million in 2023). Now, if you look at the makeup of his contract, the Falcons would want to wait until after June 1 to actually execute any sort of deal (which would soften the cap blow). But a deal could be agreed to before then, and these sorts of ideas are always batted around during draft week."

While it makes sense for the Falcons to trade Jones, it's also likely he could stay with the team and play out the rest of his contract. In 2020, Jones only played in nine games due to injuries but still caught 51 passes for 771 yards and three touchdowns. Ever since Jones was drafted by the Falcons in the first round in 2011, he has been one of the top receivers in the league. From 2014-2019, Jones recorded at least 83 receptions and 1,300 yards each season.

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The Falcons are looking to get back to Super Bowl after having an epic loss in the big game in 2017. The team has a new head coach, a new general manager and the No. 4 overall pick in the draft. And like the Jones situation, the Falcons could trade the No. 4 pick to acquire more draft selections and possibly a top player from another team.