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For the past month, rumors have circulated that the Atlanta Falcons are interested in parting ways with star wide receiver Julio Jones. Gasoline was poured on that proverbial fire earlier this week, when Jeff Schultz of The Athletic reported that the Falcons indeed “would like to trade” Jones to free up cap space. The Falcons would want something decent in return for the seven-time Pro Bowl pass-catcher, and there are sure to be interested teams.
SportsLine’s oddsmakers put together a list of potential trade partners headlined by the San Francisco 49ers, Las Vegas Raiders and New England Patriots, but there could be a few sleepers that could acquire Jones — such as the Arizona Cardinals. DeAndre Hopkins appears to be in favor of the potential move, as he took to Twitter on Friday to indicate that he would restructure his contract to add Jones if it came down to it.
The Cardinals don’t appear to be in the market for a wide receiver as they added A.J. Green in free agency and also selected Rondale Moore in the second round in the 2021 NFL Draft, but quarterback Kyler Murray would love another talented, physical weapon like Jones to throw to. He has a base salary of $15.3 million during the 2021 season, and $11.51 million during the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The Cardinals are currently 13th in the salary cap standings with $13.5 million available, according to Over The Cap. Arizona would definitely need to move some money around to acquire Jones, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.
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Jones has been one of the best receivers in the NFL over the last decade, but he was limited to just nine games in 2020 due to a hamstring issue. Still, he boasted a 75 percent catch rate. Hopkins is not the only NFL star who has lobbied on social media for his team to make a move for Jones, as Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry and his left tackle Taylor Lewan both posted on Thursday that they want the reigning AFC South champs to add Jones.
The Cardinals don’t appear to be one of the favorites to trade for Jones, but remember, they weren’t a favorite to acquire J.J. Watt either. It’s not a given that Jones will be playing for another team in 2021, but it’s clear the Falcons are exploring the possibility.