Most NFL fans know about the situations of Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons, and Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers over the past numerous months.
The feud with Rodgers and the Packers really escalated when the team selected Jordan Love – a quarterback out of Utah State – with their first-round pick in 2020. Rodgers was reportedly angry over the Packers not including him in any of the discussions and not even mentioning to him about wanting to take another quarterback when the situation presented itself.
With Julio Jones, the situation really started – according to Falcons owner, Arthur Blank – back in 2019.
Julio was looking for a new contract from the Atlanta Falcons. He reportedly felt like he was not being paid enough for the type of player he was and he had a point. He eventually agreed on a new deal that paid him a ton of money.
Blank has recently mentioned that the relationship between the star receiver and the Atlanta Falcons was never the same after the new contract.
"We, being Thomas, coach Quinn, the player and his agent, were all kind of at odds with each other. We got a contract done. We felt it was very generous. It made him the top paid receiver in NFL history. But for whatever reason, he felt it wasn’t sufficient respect. I don’t know why he’d feel that way, but he did feel that way."
Could Julio Jones’s reason for frustration with the Atlanta Falcons be the same reasoning for Aaron Rodgers’s anger at the Green Bay Packers?
Look at the details, the Atlanta Falcons chose their future number one receiver in the 2018 draft, after he slipped to them later in the first round.
The same exact thing happened with Jordan Love and the Packers. The Packers were not planning on taking a quarterback, but when they saw him slipping in the draft they decided to trade up and grab Love with their first-round pick. That is essentially what fueled Rodgers into deciding this would be his last season in Green Bay.
Could the Atlanta Falcon’s decision to take Calvin Ridley in the first round kick-started the decline of Julio’s relationship with his lifelong team? It certainly seems like it could have.
Blank mentioned how they felt like they paid Julio in accordance with his worth. Blank certainly has a point, they paid him as the best receiver in the NFL. After, Blank mentions how they got the feeling that Julio did not think it was enough. While most NFL players never feel like they get paid enough, Julio was basically being paid like the best in the NFL.
The one thing that he could have been angry about is the details of the contract.
Following this next season, the Falcons inserted a potential out in his contract. They would be able to cut ties with Julio, while only absorbing a dead cap of two million dollars.
Coincidentally, that is about the time that they would be looking to sign Calvin Ridley to another contract. See where this is going?
Aaron Rodgers was not happy with the Packers not committing to him for the long term. They have this former first-round quarterback looking over Aaron’s shoulder, waiting for the opportunity to steal his starting spot.
With the Falcons, they took Calvin Ridley in the first round for him to be another franchise receiver. Julio could have interpreted that as them not wanting to fully commit to his long-term future with the organization. Thus, Julio asks for a new contract, only to not be happy with it as they finesse a potential way for them to move on from him when Ridley needs a new contract.
This is all speculation, but it makes you wonder, could Julio have been in basically the same situation as Rodgers?
With all this said, much like Rodgers has said about Jordan Love, he has nothing against Love, it is the situation with the front office.
Julio certainly has nothing against Ridley. From the get-go, Julio took Ridley under his wing and mentored him. They both went to Alabama, so they already had a lot in common and they already knew each other. In the case that this is true, it would be about the relationship between the front office and Julio Jones.
What has happened, has happened, there is no changing the past. But this is a situation that no one has connected the dots with. It is certainly an interesting talking point.
Julio Jones is a first-ballot Hall of Fame player. He will always be an Atlanta Falcon, and will always be known first and foremost as one. He had his reasons to want a fresh start, no one other than himself knows the reasons for sure, but the similarities of his situation and Aaron’s situation are too similar to ignore.
Wish Julio Jones the best with the Tennessee Titans. He is an all-time great person and player.