Patriots

Patriots reportedly ‘cautious’ in pursuit of a Julio Jones trade

The Patriots have been speculated as one of the top suitors for Jones.

Julio Jones trade rumors
Julio Jones during Falcons-Broncos game in 2020. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Julio Jones to the Patriots trade rumors have been swirling for several weeks and appear unlikely to end until the Falcons resolve the situation with their star receiver.

Both Jones and the Patriots have reportedly shown mutual interest in each other, but the Patriots are “cautious” about acquiring Jones, Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard reported in his Sunday notes column.

“I’ve been told the Patriots’ interest is… cautious,” Bedard wrote. “They’re around. If the price drops in compensation and contract, then I think Jones as a big slot/layer of security at a thin spot, would be something they’re interested in.”

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Bedard speculated a few reasons why the Patriots could be hesitant, citing Jones’s salary ($15.3 million) and the team’s use of tight ends (signing Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith to big-money contracts this offseason) as a pair of reasons why the Patriots may relent in their efforts to trade for Jones.

Bedard isn’t the only Patriots insider that is skeptical the Patriots will land Jones. In his Sunday notes column, ESPN’s Mike Reiss wrote that he sensed the Patriots would “love” to have Jones, but the financial aftermath of trading for Jones could leave too big of a strain for the future.

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“Bringing Jones aboard on his current contract would mean other dominoes have to fall to create salary-cap space to get through this season, and there’s also projecting ahead to 2022 when the club is already within range of a $208.2 million cap ceiling,” Reiss wrote.

Boston Globe Patriots beat reporter Ben Volin also mentioned the Patriots’ financial situation as a reason why he doesn’t see Jones ending up in New England. In addition to mentioning the trouble of fitting Jones’s salary with the cap space they currently have (which is roughly $15 million), Volin recalled Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s comments after the team gave out $175 million in guaranteed contracts this offseason.

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Volin also thinks that Jones isn’t a good match with Cam Newton, who is still the team’s starting quarterback.

“In 2021, the Patriots are designed around the tight ends, with wide receivers playing more of a complementary role,” Volin wrote in his Sunday notes column. “Look at their free agency spending — the big money went to two tight ends (Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry), while they paid modest money to second-tier receivers such as Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.”

The rumors on a Jones trade dialed up over the past week when Jones said he’s leaving Atlanta during an interview on FS1’s “Undisputed” on Monday. A couple of days prior, NFL Network’s Mike Giardi reported the Patriots have had “internal discussions” about making a move for Jones. The Patriots are one of two teams Jones has on his radar, NBC Sports’ Chris Simms reported Tuesday.

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If the Falcons trade Jones, it won’t happen until after June 1. The Falcons would save $15.3 million in cap space if they trade or release Jones after that day, which they need in order to sign their draft picks.

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