The New England Patriots’ offense underwent a facelift this offseason, and fans will be hoping their new additions pay immediate dividends.
However, it’s worth speculating whether fans are setting their expectations too high for their new-look receiving corps.
After all, the Patriots signed Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne to multi-year deals in free agency and they aren’t exactly proven commodities at the position.
With that in mind, it wasn’t entirely surprising that ESPN listed New England as a potential destination for Julio Jones, who’s being shopped by the Falcons and represents everything the Patriots don’t have in their current collection of pass catchers.
It would appear these rumors aren’t going away anytime soon, as insider Jeff Schultz of The Athletic identified New England as a team who could be in the running to acquire Jones as the Falcons become more determined to deal him.
So, what should fans make of all this buzz?
What should Patriots fans make of the Julio Jones trade rumors?
In our eyes, the Foxborough faithful should definitely get excited by these rumors, and the buzz begins with the fact that New England has the requisite cap space. Jones recently signed a three-year, $66 million extension with Atlanta that’ll come into play this upcoming season.
With approximately $15.9 million in remaining cap space, the Patriots would have to convert some of Jones’ $23.05 million cap hit into a signing bonus, but they shouldn’t make a fuss about doing that if they’re content with unloading what will likely be a shipment’s worth of draft capital to acquire him in the first place.
As for the final two years of Jones’ contract, the Patriots seemingly won’t break a sweat having to meet its demands, especially considering that most of the contracts on their payroll are short-term deals and that the salary cap baseline is projected to skyrocket once the league’s new lucrative television deals kick in next season.
With the financial aspect sorted out, Jones could be the final piece to the puzzle that is the Patriots’ offense. Prior to last season, when he was limited to just nine games due to injury, Jones logged six straight seasons (!) of at least 83 catches and 1,394 receiving yards. The former No. 6 overall pick also the league in receiving yards per game three times during that span.
While we understand the risk behind trading for a 32-year-old receiver who’s seemingly always dealing with a minor injury, Jones would make the Patriots a championship contender (as long as their quarterback play is up to snuff) overnight, so yes, fans would be fully justified getting excited with the idea of Jones spending his remaining prime years in New England.