The buzz words for the Atlanta Falcons during week one of training camp have been a culture change. Establishing a new culture should be relatively painless with many new faces, young players, and a second-year coaching staff. However, difficulties can occur if the old guard resists such transformations. Now, a respected Atlanta reporter has named a possible problem player. The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz tweeted that veteran, leader, and star player Deion Jones is being watched closely and shopped for a potential trade.
Schultz tweeted to his 38 thousand followers that the Falcons had failed in attempts to trade Jones and decided not to cut him. He said that a source believes Jones won’t be a distraction to the team and that the staff continues to monitor Jones’ attitude and rehab from shoulder surgery. Talk about a bombshell tweet. But there’s more; Schultz claims that Jones’ future on the team remains tenuous, and a trade could still materialize due to injuries on other teams.
It’s impossible to tell what the motivation behind leaking such damaging rumors against a player is to accomplish.
It’s too bad that Shultz credits a source with the information. It’s unknown if this is a team source, an agent, or a player, and it is impossible to tell what the motivation behind leaking such damaging rumors against a player is to accomplish. If the Falcons are trying to trade their 2nd round pick from the 2016 draft, the asking price was just lowered. How warm of a welcome does he get when he does return from the PUP list to join the Falcons? That’s awkward.
There have been trade rumors around Jones since the season ended, and those escalated after Matt Ryan was traded, signaling a rebuild was underway. Jones is the highest-paid player on the team now and for a front office looking for cap space, he seemed to be the obvious choice. But when there wasn’t a trade market, the Falcons considered cutting the team’s second leader in tackles last season. That would’ve been another $20 million in dead cap to a team with a record amount of dead money on the books while only saving a couple of million dollars.
Falcons are Changing the Culture
General manager Terry Fontenot was asked about Jones’ future with the team, “You can ask that question about any player on our roster, and we’ll answer it the same way. We’re always trying to build a roster the right way, and every decision we make is going to be for the betterment of the team as a whole.”
This leak comes just days after a very animated Dean Pees addressed the team’s culture, “We’re changing the culture around this daggum place and it’s not going to be mediocre. It’s not going to be average. It’s not going to be in the bottom half of the league like it’s been 15 out of the last 20 years. Sick of that crap.”
The defensive coordinator said he has pulled the higher-paid players from his starting line-up before and is not afraid to do it again. He didn’t mention names, but he was not making any excuses for the poor performance of last year’s team. “Guys around here on defense sometimes believe that 15th is OK or whatever. Been in the top 10 one time out of the last 20 years. That is over. Sorry, I’m getting fired up today, but I’m getting tired of this crap. We’re going to change the culture of the defense around this freaking place.”
Was Pees talking about Jones? Jones wears the C as a captain on the Falcons and is considered the leader on the defense. He was on the field for several blowouts against the team last season. If Pees is, will the defensive boss play Jones is unknown? That may be determined by those monitoring attitudes and will likely come down to Jones’ work ethic and how he fits in with the new culture.