The Atlanta Falcons have a tough decision to make with linebacker Deion Jones. Jones is the only player from Atlanta’s old core whose future remains up in the air. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are gone with their supporting cast traded or gone in free agency as well.
Jake Matthews and Grady Jarrett both will be building blocks of the rebuild being given extensions this off-season. Leaving Deion Jones as the lone player whose future is seemingly undecided. As tough as it might be the right move for Atlanta is cutting Deion and moving on from the former star linebacker.
Whether it was an injury, age, or the new defensive system, Jones was a different player last season. In coverage, he was consistently beaten and he failed to make the explosive plays stopping the run or defending the middle of the field fans are used to seeing from Jones.
Now with the recent news, Jones will miss the entire off-season rehabbing his shoulder. This likely takes away what trade value Jones did have left leaving Atlanta with very few options. Jones is in the final two years of his deal and could easily be cut post-June 1st without adding another major dead cap hit.
Even if he were to add to Atlanta’s already massive dead cap there is no better time to move on from Deion. Atlanta will already be responsible for dealing with dead cap from Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, Dante Fowler Jr., Tyeler Davidson, Mike Davis, Kendall Sheffield, and John Cominsky who make up a massive $63.2-million of Atlanta’s cap space this season.
In an obvious rebuilding year adding Jones to that list isn’t a concern. The bigger issue is finding a long-term solution for the position. Deion no longer appears to be the answer and Atlanta cannot hesitate to move on from the former star player.
Despite his great track record, this is a league focused on the here and now. With Atlanta’s youth movement and willingness to move on from former stars it is hard to find a good reason to keep Deion Jones beyond this season.
The one caveat could be if the Falcons believe Jones can play at a level early in the season that will earn back trade value. Giving them a potentially valuable veteran to move ahead of the trade deadline. Aside from that, it is hard to see Deion Jones making this roster considering the poor season he put together and the off-season surgery. Cutting Deion is the right move for a franchise that needs to continue its focus on building a young core for future success.