Julio Jones rumors had been swirling for the past week, but they reached a breaking point on Monday morning when the All-Pro wideout told Shannon Sharpe he’s “outta there” in reference to potentially staying in Atlanta.
Trade compensation has been debated by many NFL analysts and reporters. ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that the Falcons are seeking a first round pick, but other teams aren’t in agreement as to whether GM Terry Fontenot will land that type of a return:
Atlanta has asked teams that have inquired about Julio Jones for a first-round draft pick in return, per sources. Others around the league don’t believe the Falcons ultimately will get a first for the perennial Pro-Bowl wide receiver.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 24, 2021
While I would obviously prefer the LA Chargers to trade a combination of post-first round picks for Jones, there’s a few key reasons they shouldn’t scoff at a first round price in trying to outbid other teams.
1. We’re talking about Julio Jones on the LA Chargers
Jones, despite potential age concerns, is a top 3 receiver in the league based on talent alone. I get it, 9 games played last year. But he played either 15 or 16 games in almost every NFL season prior to his 2020 hamstring injury.
There’s injury and age risk with Jones. My response would be that injury risk would exists for every player. Mike Williams has missed games, quarters, and halves of games in recent seasons. Keenan Allen is about to enter the first year of a four-year extension after missing two (really three games considering the decoy Raiders outing) games in 2020. Coincidentally, he suffered from the same lingering hamstring injury as Jones.
Even in a year where he barely played half the season with a beat up hamstring, Jones still was good for 50+ catches and nearly 800 yards. He was good for five more receptions than Williams in 2020, despite missed time.
Having Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler, Jared Cook, Williams (for 2021), and the aforementioned Jones on the field at the same time would be a nightmare for opposing defenses.