When all was said and done, however, Jones landed in Tennessee and the Patriots, according to follow-up reports, didn’t show much interest in acquiring the perennial superstar, which is surprising given their need for a clearcut No.1 wideout.
Perhaps more important is the fact Jones ended up going for just two draft picks (a second-rounder in 2022 and a 2023 fourth-rounder).
Surely the Pats could’ve afforded that, no?
We like to think so. So, what exactly dissuaded their interest? According to insider Jeff Howe of The Athletic, New England wanted their cake and to eat it too in the sense that the Falcons were going to have to either reduce their asking price or eat some of Jones’ salary.
Atlanta, of course, did neither and the Patriots backed out.
The Patriots weren’t willing to go the extra mile for Julio Jones.
Not that they need it, but Patriots fans have our permission to be incensed.
While we understand the apprehension behind trading for a 32-year-old WR who’s on a huge contract and coming off a hamstring injury that limited him to nine games the season prior, these details make New England come off extremely greedy. Given the state of their receiving corps, they’re really in no position to act like that.
Had the Pats traded for Jones, he would’ve accounted for a $15.3 million cap hit, which would’ve ranked second on the team behind Stephon Gilmore ($16.3 mil). That obviously would’ve zapped a chunk of their remaining cap space, but what exactly is the point of having approximately $20 million lying around at this stage of the offseason?
What makes New England’s dissolved interest all the more difficult to stomach? They unloaded more draft capital (a second-rounder and two fourths) to move up to draft Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore at No. 38 overall in the second round back in April.
We know Barmore won’t earn nearly as much as Jones, but the logic behind trading multiple draft picks for an unproven commodity (who reportedly doesn’t take kindly to criticism) and refusing to do the same for a future first ballot Hall of Famer simply because you didn’t want to inherit his contract, which pays a manageable $23.02 million over its final two years, is non-existent.
That isn’t to say we don’t understand the risk of trading for Jones, and New England could make amends for passing on him by acquiring another younger high-end talent in the future.
However, we can’t fault Patriots fans who tossed their phones or computers across the room in sheer rage after reading up on why the team backed out of the Jones sweepstakes.