Julio Jones seems as good as gone in Atlanta, right?
The Falcons’ two-time All-Pro receiver went on “Undisputed” and told Shannon Sharpe he was “out of there” in regards to Atlanta, where he’s played his entire 10-year career.
It caused the Atlanta’s odds to maintain Jones drop rather noticeably (they were the favorite at -150) all while others, specifically the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans, jumped up the betting board. The Patriots, who were 7-to-1 to land Jones when we published odds Saturday, now are the betting favorite at 2-to-1.
Speculation running rampant — including a reported asking price — Monday seemingly had a role in oddsmakers shifting their prices. Anyway, here are the updated Julio Jones odds, according to DraftKings SportsBook.
New England Patriots +200
Tennessee Titans +400
Atlanta Falcons +500
Los Angeles Chargers +700
Baltimore Ravens +800
Indianapolis Colts +800
San Francisco 49ers +800
Las Vegas Raiders +800
Jacksonville Jaguars +1000
Cleveland Browns +1200
Of note: The fact nine of the 10 teams listed are in the AFC (besides the 49ers) depicts how oddsmakers believe the Falcons won’t trade the talented wideout in the NFC, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.
So, you may ask: Which of these 10 teams with the best prices to land Jones do (and don’t) make sense? Allow us to dissect just that.
New England Patriots
The old saying “This doesn’t seem like a move Bill Belichick would make,” is a thing of the past. It’s been proven this offseason first with a free-agency splurge and then by drafting a first-round quarterback. And while one could point to the fact New England went out and signed two of the best tight ends in the league, perhaps depicting a heavy use of 12 personnel this season, one cannot say Jones wouldn’t be a clear upgrade at receiver. Sure, the Patriots signed Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne and still have Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry, but do any of those names really mean they should pass on a seven-time Pro Bowler regardless of the fact it may mean one of those signed this offseason drops a spot on the depth chart?
Additionally, and while we aren’t of the belief cap space is the clear-cut factor, New England does have the space to fit Jones’ $15.3 million in 2021 with a minor roster move. The Patriots reportedly have kicked the tires on Jones, too.
The Titans have a rather obvious connection now that former offensive coordinator Arthur Smith has taken over as the head coach of the Falcons. And while the thought of throwing Jones, a physical freak, into an offense with fellow physical freak Derrick Henry and another big target in A.J. Brown is fun to think about, it may more of a daydream than reality.
After all, the Titans let tight end Jonnu Smith walk this offseason because they didn’t want to pay him the going rate and now have to be gearing up to sign Brown to a contract extension. It makes the thought of signing another $15 million receiver a little harder to grasp, despite the fact they’re in need or receiver help.
Los Angeles Chargers
Imagine Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert throwing passes to Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Jones all while having one of the best pass-catching backs in Austin Ekeler. It would be a scary, scary sight for opposing defenses no doubt. And with Williams under contract for just one more season it may not be all that crazy to think about.
One thing working against the Chargers, though, is the fact they already have $38 million in cap space committed to receivers in 2021, according to Spotrac.com. It’s the fourth-most in the NFL. But on the other hand, LA does have the cap space to fit Jones’ $15.3 million for 2021. Jones would be more of a luxury than a necessity one way or the other.
San Francisco 49ers
Offensive mastermind Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers already have tight end George Kittle controlling the middle of the field with yards-after-catch experts like Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk making for a productive passing game. But adding an outside-the-numbers threat like Jones would make for a potent offense.
The 49ers currently have the cap space to fit Jones, but it would take some maneuvering once their draft class is signed. Shanahan, though, may be reeled back in when remembering the draft capital spent to acquire first-round quarterback Trey Lance this offseason. They may want to keep the draft assets they have.
No matter where Jones goes, don?t expect it to be before June 1. If the Falcons trade Jones before June 1, they’d actually lose $200,000 in cap space, as explained by NESN.com’s Doug Kyed. If they trade him after June 1, then his dead cap gets spread out, and the Falcons save $15.3 million in space.