Acquiring Julio Jones means a lower first-round pick for the LA Chargers next year
The LA Chargers are currently wild card contenders. I’d say it’s fair to give them that status. Being that kind of team probably has them likely picking from between 15-22 in the draft next year.
If they acquire Jones, that elevates them to the status of AFC contender. I’d give them a semi-realistic chance to beat the Chiefs in the division and aside from that, they’d more than likely get into the wild card based on pure talent alone. If you’re going from picking in that 15-22 range to maybe 20-28 instead, a first round pick itself isn’t a lot.
Ultimately, I don’t believe Jones will cost a first. But it’s not that bad of a price to pay if he does. Swinging one “big” trade doesn’t suddenly mean the Chargers will become the Rams throwing first round picks around like they’re nothing. Jones’ long term contract is also a factor in talks. If he was on a one year deal, there would be no theoretical first round pick to discuss.
Next year’s wide receiver class is frankly terrible on paper in comparison to the 2021 group we just had. If another option is spending a top tier pick (generous considering the class) on a wideout to replace Williams, I’d prefer shipping it to Atlanta for Jones.
Another factor to consider: the LA Chargers are on track to get four compensatory picks in 2022. Sure, those picks will be 5th or 6th rounders. But the raw amount of players you’re getting is the same or more in a class that’s projected by many analysts to be weaker at the top.