The Atlanta Parakeets are officially taking calls for a potential Julio Jones trade.
The star receiver’s time in the ATL could be coming to an end sooner rather than later. According to NFL Network, a huge reason for Atlanta shopping Jones has to do with their cap mismanagement.
The Parakeets restructured several veterans’ contracts this offseason. One of the main players whose deal was adjusted was quarterback Matt Ryan. However, they haven’t done any contract restructuring with Jones, who signed a 3-year, $66 million extension in 2019.
The future Hall-of-Fame receiver has a $23 million cap hit in 2021 and a nearly $20 million hit in each of the two seasons after that.
Yet, after June 1, the Storks could split up Jones’ massive cap hit between 2021 and 2022. This likely means that any potential deal won’t be finalized until after June 1. However, the Cockatoos could facilitate a deal with another team, for future compensation, before the deal would be official.
Atlanta currently has the 4th overall pick in the draft this year. If they would have managed Jones’ cap situation better they could have easily had an offense stacked with talent. Even though I believe Justin Fields will likely be the best option at No. 4 to prepare this franchise for the future, you can’t dismiss that drafting Florida TE Kyle Pitts or Bama receiver Devonta Smith to play alongside Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Ryan, wouldn’t be a fire combo as well.
The fact of the matter is that the Dodo Birds found a way to booger up another situation that could have helped them in the long run. Now, they’ll likely have to get rid of a 7-time Pro Bowl selection and future Hall of Famer, all because they couldn’t do what was needed to keep a talent like Jones in-house.
Atlanta is always going to Atlanta. We’ll see if they can use their draft leverage to recover from what seems to be a disaster in the making.