The Patriots have reportedly been weighing the idea of trading for Julio Jones, and the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver is said to be interested in going to New England, so it makes all the sense in the world for the Falcons not to trade him.
Even if the Patriots aren’t really looking to trade for Jones, and even if the talk of him wanting to go to New England is overblown, it doesn’t matter. The Falcons should not trade Jones anywhere.
Jones is a future Hall of Famer, signed for three years, and between him, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, and first-round pick Kyle Pitts, the Falcons should have a pretty dangerous air attack in a division where the other teams’ quarterbacks are Sam Darnold, either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill, and some guy who’s gonna be 44 years old when the season starts. And the Falcons will be coached by Dan Quinn for zero games in 2021. To put it another way, Atlanta is listed at 8-1 to win the South — what do you think happens to that number if they trade Jones?
It’s not like this is even a good time to trade Jones. The draft is already over, so any pick you acquire is going to get worse by virtue of the fact that the team you’re getting it from just got Julio Jones to try to make a Super Bowl run. And not that you’d ever get good value for someone bound for Canton, but coming off a nine-game season at the age of 32 probably represents the lowest value on the trade market that Jones has ever had.
Specific to the Patriots rumors, imagine trading maybe the best player in franchise history to the team that four years ago handed your team the greatest humiliation that it’s ever suffered — in more than half a century of pretty much nonstop humiliations. If the Falcons traded Jones to New England, they might as well just hand over the keys to the stadium to Atlanta United, turn the training facility into a public recreation center, and sell all of their highlight reels as stock footage to be used as background when people in a potato chip commercial are watching football on TV.
There is nothing good that comes to the Falcons as a result of trading the player who’s been the only reason for the fan base to stick around and pay any attention to them. But that’s also why it’ll probably happen.