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Could We be Seeing the Last of the Julio Jones Era in Atlanta?

Could we be seeing the last of star Wideout Julio Jones in Atlanta? Jones spent his collegiate career with the University of Alabama and was a part of the infamous 14-0 National Championship winning team before being drafted in 2008, going to the Atlanta Falcons with the number six overall pick in 2008. Jones quickly started to show his talent and started to emerge as one of the League’s best receivers, even being considered as the absolute best after a dominant rookie and sophomore season. Jones recorded 54 receptions, 959 yards, and eight touchdowns on the year in his rookie season and 79 receptions, 1,198 yards, and 10 touchdowns in his sophomore season. He has recorded over 1,000 yards receiving in each of his following years except for 2015 when he suffered a fractured foot during a matchup with the New York Jets and was sidelined for the rest of the season.

All throughout the past two years Julio has not been seen as frequently as we are used to due to constant injuries. Now these things are in no way things that Jones can control but it may be eye opening to the new General Manager and Coaching Staff that is coming in for the 2021 NFL season after the recent firing of Head Coach Dan Quinn and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. Now what would that mean for both Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons?

Say Atlanta does not release/trade Jones, they would still have the dynamic Alabama duo with Jones and Ridley. They would also have to sign him a new deal soon and that would hit Atlanta’s cap space hard. Now Jones very may well take a more team friendly deal like former New England Patriots and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Tom Brady did but I highly doubt it. The market for a top tier wideout is always going to be there and some teams would definitely be willing to offer whatever the asking price is.

If Jones is to stay in Atlanta, he would have to have a very good relationship with his new Head Coach, whoever that may be. So many star players have left teams based on that alone. Not only will he need a good relationship with his new coaching staff, he would need to have a good one with his Quarterback. It is no secret that the Falcons will have to start looking for Matt Ryan’s replacement very soon with him starting to get up there in age. All of these factors will have to be taken into account if Atlanta were to keep Jones on the roster, non negotiable. But what if Atlanta were to trade or release the star receiver?

If Atlanta were to release or trade Jones the football world would turn upside down. Jones is up for a new contract and would obviously want the money that he deserves. Atlanta, however, very well may not have the money to do so. With the amount of fantastic players on their team, it would prove very difficult to keep their younger star players and Julio Jones. Atlanta would be just fine with their receiving core with Calvin Ridley leading that ship. Atlanta would have plenty of suitors for the star wideout if they were to trade him. Let’s take a look at some of the teams that would have the most interest.

-Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers has been asking for more offensive weapons for years now and is playing at an exceptionally good caliber right now despite the Packers drafting Quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of last year’s draft. Finally giving him more viable options to throw down the field to could finally push them to a Super Bowl. This move could also keep Rodgers a Packer if he were to be thinking about trying out playing for a different team.

-New York Jets

The New York Jets are in the middle of a rebuild and have already stated that they could be moving on from Quarterback Sam Darnold. With the new addition of a rookie Quarterback, he would need a solid receiver that he can trust to throw to. Adding an elite receiver would fix that issue immediately. 

-Las Vegas Raiders

The Las Vegas Raiders were a team that were poised to be a possible landing point for the wideout before the trade deadline this year after rumors started to spread about a possible trade. The Raiders would have a receiving core of a speedy receiver in Henry Ruggs III, an elite receiver in Julio Jones, a slot machine in Hunter Renfrow, and finally an elite Tight End in Darren Waller. Not to mention star running back Josh Jacobs in the backfield who could wind up being a decent threat down field. This offense would be insane and would tear up elite defenses,

-Jacksonville Jaguars

With the Jaguars in prime position to draft Clemson Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, look to see them attempt to trade for the wideout this offseason. Lawrence is used to throwing it deep with the Clemson offensive scheme and what a way to keep him in his comfort zone by adding that elite receiver that he would need.

I believe that Jones will be out of Atlanta very soon and they would definitely look for some sort of compensation for the elite wideout in Julio Jones. This league is a very competitive business after all. 

My Pick- 

Atlanta will trade Julio Jones to the Las Vegas Raiders. Vegas has a Quarterback that has proved himself to be a great passer and would work well in Head Coach Jon Gruden’s offense. Vegas does in fact have the money to attempt to reconstruct Jones’ contract if they so desired. Hard to not think that would happen when you have a guy with such talent and elite capabilities on your team.

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