With June 1st officially here, the Green Bay Packers have an important trade decision to make. Namely whether or not to trade for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.
Jones, who requested a trade early in March and recently stated “I’m outta there” in an interview with Shannon Sharpe, is one of the most appealing trade targets out there, even at age 32. While he only played in nine games in 2020 (a disappointing season that saw the Falcons fire head coach Dan Quinn early in the season), Jones has plenty of juice in the tank. Especially if that team already has a dominant WR1, who can take pressure off of Jones. Jones would make any team better, but with his price tag, does he make sense for the Packers?
The Packers may have finally added an early-round rookie WR in Amari Rodgers, but with a team in win-now mode and the current cluster of wide receivers on last year of their deals, adding a stud WR is never a bad thing.
Davante Adams’ presence would make Jones’ life much easier and would immediately give the Packers the best WR group in the league. Despite being a generational talent at wide receiver, Jones has never dominated the league in touchdowns. That is something that would change for sure in Green Bay.
The Falcons are a shell of their 2016 team, where then offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan had Matt Ryan become the league’s MVP and the Falcons had one of the best offenses in the league. Still, since then Jones had 1,444 yards and three TDs in 2017, 1,677y and eight TDs in 2018, and 1,394y and six TDs in 2019. Jones still has plenty of juice in the tank despite a down 2020.
That 2016 season also had a young Matt LaFleur on staff in Atlanta, so the Packers head coach knows the player. On paper, it’s a no-brainer.
Yet the paper is the problem, as in money. The Packers are strapped enough for cash as in, including already being significantly over the 2022 projected cap. The Packers would need to get creative with cap space, something Acme Packer Co’s Justis Mosqueda analyzed beautifully. Essentially, it would take other veteran extensions to make this work.
This says nothing of the potential draft capital it would cost. The Falcons are looking for a first-round pick, and have allegedly been offered one by an NFL team, though that seems suspect. Perhaps the Falcons, who are choosing to remain in win-now mode, could be appeased with players and later-round draft picks.
While it would take some serious work by people that actually understand numbers, the Packers could make a trade for Julio Jones work. And adding Jones would show that the Packers are all-in on 2021, something that could show Aaron Rodgers the team is serious about winning with him and smooth the waters.
Jones is an elite receiver looking to play elsewhere. The Packers give him his best chance of winning a Super Bowl, and his signing could ease the tensions between the team and its star quarterback. If a deal can be made, it would be one of the most exciting preambles for the Packers’ 2021 season.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.