A week ago, I wrote about Julio Jones and whether or not an NFC West team might trade for him. The Atlanta Falcons are almost certain to deal him somewhere because of his $15 million base salary and their inability to pay it (unless they move many millions down the line), and every year the NFC West seems to be the most aggressive division in the NFL.
Clearly, things haven’t changed.
In the last week, all four teams in the division have been linked to Jones, and things have really heated up over the last couple of days. On Saturday, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo said that the Rams had made an offer for Julio Jones:
“The Falcons have been fielding offers and some of the teams we’ve heard about – the Titans, the Rams – yes, my understanding is those are two of the teams that have had conversations with Atlanta,” he said on NFL Network. “The problem is, the Rams are really short on draft capital. They don’t have first-round picks for the next two years.”
On Sunday, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that the Seahawks have had discussions about trading for Julio Jones, and that the receiver had already been talking to Russell Wilson about becoming teammates.
The Falcons continue to field calls from teams interested in trading for Julio Jones. The Seahawks have had discussions about a possible trade with Atlanta, per sources. In fact, QB Russell Wilson & Julio Jones have spoken to discuss the possibility of playing together.— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) May 30, 2021
Then, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweeted that teams around the NFL are expecting the 49ers to get seriously involved in discussions, which would reconnect Julio Jones and former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan:
Asking around league on Julio Jones, teams are watching 49ers closely, though uncertain how far they'd go after giving up 1s for Trey Lance. Ravens would be willing to get involved at right price. High demand plus $15M salary a hurdle. Teams could ask ATL to cover some cost.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 30, 2021
Strangely enough, the NFC West team with the least amount of rumors is the Cardinals, a franchise that has the most 2022 and 2023 draft capital in the division and the most obvious need for a second weapon for Kyler Murray. However, we know that DeAndre Hopkins tweeted/deleted a message that he’d be willing to take a paycut for Julio Jones to be added to the team. (His paycut wouldn’t help much.)
Julio Jones trade: Can Arizona Cardinals afford Atlanta Falcons wide receiver? https://t.co/7xhXMb6eQO— azcentral sports (@azcsports) May 26, 2021
Not only do the Cardinals probably need Julio the most, it sure appears that if Arizona does make a deal for him that they’d potentially be stealing him away from a division rival.
The Rams, Seahawks, and 49ers are arguably the three most aggressive teams in the NFL when it comes to trading, so Julio Jones appearing in the NFC West this week — after the June 1 deadline, so as early as Tuesday — seems somewhat closer to ‘inevitable’ than it does to ‘doubtful’.