With each passing week, the Atlanta Falcons are getting closer to the return of former star linebacker Deion Jones. With his return will come a myriad of questions about their future and his ability to impact the team at this point in his career. The prevailing question will be can Jones carve out a role for himself or will Atlanta trade their former defensive signal caller?
With Troy Andersen, Mykal Walker, and Rashaan Evans all receiving increasing snaps it is hard to find a spot for Jones in his typical role. While Walker has been far from perfect he has been an obvious upgrade from the shell of himself that Deion was last season.
The question for Atlanta is really which version of Deion they believe they will be getting? The player that hustles and made sideline-to-sideline plays through the first few years of his career or the linebacker they watched last season.
Last year’s Deion will not be able to carve a role out on this team and will struggle to find a new landing spot unless Atlanta takes on the majority of his contract somewhat defeating the purpose. Atlanta’s best move is putting Jones sparingly into the lineup hoping he can make enough plays to put together a tape that would suggest he has returned to the player he once was.
If that happens to trade him and his salary in favor of focusing on developing their current young linebackers is the right move for the Falcons. As painful as it might be to watch yet another former Atlanta Falcons star leave it is the right decision. Jones hasn’t played close to his talent level recently and is coming off of a serious injury. If the Falcons can find a way to dump most or all of his salary the move shouldn’t be in question it would be the right decision for both sides.