The Julio Jones trade rumors are heating up.
Speculation has surrounded the star receiver for much of the offseason. The Atlanta Falcons are in salary-cap hell — they don’t even have enough space to sign their draft picks — and trading Jones is one of their few avenues toward relief.
In fact, the Falcons would prefer to trade Jones, Jeff Schultz of The Athletic reported Thursday in a column that lays out the Jones situation in great detail.
Here’s the opening paragraph:
The Falcons would like to trade Julio Jones. That doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent that it’s going to happen. That doesn’t mean some members of the organization don’t believe the future Hall of Famer can still play, when healthy. But Jones’ availability on the trade market has been clear almost from the time new general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith landed in Atlanta and realized the extent of the team’s salary-cap problems. Anybody who wants to deny that likely is doing so out of mere fandom.
The Falcons would save significant money by trading Jones after June 1. So, any deal involving the 32-year-old likely won’t happen until that date.
The seven-time Pro Bowler is coming off an injury-plagued season in which he caught 51 balls for 771 yards over nine games.