Perfect timing. With the NFL Draft just three days away, fans were gifted with a bombshell Julio Jones trade rumor on Monday morning.
Let the speculation begin!
For New England Patriots fans, it’s fair to ask yourselves if the team is among the potential suitors for arguably the best wide receiver in the league.
Julian Edelman recently retired. It’s possible N’Keal Harry is traded in the coming days (or at least before the 2021 season). The Pats have nothing close to a No. 1 wideout.
New England still has over $15 million in cap space remaining.
Jones’ base salary for the coming year is $15.3 million. That’ll require little financial gymnastics.
Let’s check out his cap hits, too. Jones is signed through the 2023 season.
- 2021 cap hit: $23.05 million
- 2022 cap hit: $19.263 million
- 2023 cap hit: $19.263 million
The Patriots don’t usually commit that much money to one player, but Cam Newton could use some top-notch help, as could his potential successor, should Bill Belichick draft a quarterback early on Thursday. Jones leading a WR corps of Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne sounds really promising. The Patriots offense would all of a sudden be among the most dynamic.
And there are some legs to the organization’s potential connection to Jones amid the latest buzz.
Here’s what NFL insider Peter King had to say about the rumors:
“I can’t predict any bombshells. But a few things would not surprise me. Most notably, the Falcons putting the framework of a trade together for star wideout Julio Jones, and making the trade effective June 2. That way, Atlanta could split Jones’ cap charge between 2021 and 2022 instead of getting bashed with it all this year. So if such a trade happens, I expect it could involve a future pick or picks, nothing this year. (A future second-round pick as compensation seems fair to me.) Because such a trade wouldn’t be official till June, no picks in this draft could be involved. As for the interested team or teams, I would guess Las Vegas; Jon Gruden couldn’t resist Antonio Brown, and I doubt he could resist Julio Jones. New England too, and a couple of teams with clear receiver needs—Tennessee and Baltimore.”
If this costs the Patriots a second-rounder in the 2022 draft? That’s a price every team in the league should pay, despite Jones’ age and bloated contract. This is a win-now move, and after the Pats’ free agency spending spree, it’s clear that the goal is to maybe make a run within the next two years while keeping the future protected in terms of cap space and draft assets.
King speculating this match continues to show that Belichick’s aggression is very real. The 2020 season put a sour taste in his mouth and it’s clear more moves than ever are under consideration, even if it means spending money, trading up, or parting with assets.
And if acquiring a world class talent like Jones, who would change the complexion of the offense from Day 1, doesn’t sacrifice any of the organization’s 2021 picks or much of anything in 2022, it’s something that’s realistic based on what we’ve seen from the Pats and heard via rumors this offseason.