Julio Jones trade rumors: Is Atlanta’s future Hall-of-Famer really on the way out?

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is trending again, and once again it’s not for something positive in the eyes of Atlanta fans.

Since the completion of the 2021 NFL Draft, when the Atlanta Falcons are mentioned is almost never about their stellar and well-rounded draft class. It’s almost always about Julio Jones.

Not about what Julio Jones will do this season. Not about the health of Julio Jones chronically bad foot or other recurring injuries. And not about Julio Jones mentoring newly-drafted mega-receiver Kyle Pitts.

No, the talk is about whether nor not Julio Jones will be an unfortunate cap casually in a year where the Falcons simply don’t have enough money available to sign their rookie class.

Bottom line – the Falcons have to trim some fat from the payroll, and with Matt Ryan recently restructuring his contract, the two biggest pieces of contract fat remaining are Julio Jones and Grady Jarrett.

Will Julio Jones really be traded?

There has been no indication of any negotiations going on with Jarrett but there have been repeated rumors floating around about Atlanta trading Jones. When Jones’s likeness and uniform number were left off the team’s preseason promotional media (which has since been remedied) fans went bonkers. Everyone was sure Julio would never play for Atlanta again.

This mania was given further fuel thanks to an article by The Athletic columnist Jeff Schultz.

Once again, offseason boredom and lack of actual news rears its ugly head and the big-story-starved fans latch on to every scrap they can. It’s been no big secret that Jones could wind up wearing another team’s uniform in 2021, so why the Schultz piece created such fervor is unclear.

Yes, Jones could be traded. Finding teams to take on his contract at his age and with his health concerns is another matter entirely. While the Falcons brass may not want to get into wangling and restructuring more contracts, that may be the only available path to free up enough money to sign the rookie class.

No coach is hired until they’re actually hired, despite what Twitter has to say, and the same is true for players being traded. Until it actually happens, Twitter can kick rocks.

Julio Jones is a future Hall of Famer, and right now he’s an Atlanta Falcon. Until Arthur Blank, Arthur Smith, or Terry Fontenot tell us differently, that’s all we need to know.

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