Recalling Old Bill Belichick-Julio Jones Story Amid Wideout’s Uncertainty

Perhaps Belichick will be more interested in a trade of his own for Jones?


May 24, 2021

Thomas Dimitroff, the Atlanta Falcons general manager for 13 seasons before he was fired in 2020, once called New England Patriots general manager and head coach Bill Belichick about a trade centering around Julio Jones.

Dimitroff reached out to Belichick on April 28, 2011, hours before the 2011 NFL Draft, in hopes of getting some advice in regards to a blockbuster trade. Dimitroff, you may recall, served under Belichick as a scout in New England, and was on the verge of making a deal with the Cleveland Browns to acquire the No. 6 overall pick with his sights set on Jones.

…The same physically imposing wideout who appears to be on his way out of Atlanta after 10 years with the franchise. And the same Jones who has been linked to the Patriots amid trade speculation.

Anyway, after the draft-day conversation with Belichick back in 2011, Dimitroff eventually would trade Atlanta’s first-round selection (27th overall), second- and fourth-round picks later that draft, along with the Falcons’ first- and fourth-round picks in 2012.

Belichick, though, at least according to the story told by NFL Media’s Michael Silver seven or so years later, was not over-the-top excited his former pupil made that decision.

“Bill was very open about it. He felt it was something he would not do,” Dimitroff recalled for a story in 2017. “‘Thomas, are you sure you want to do this? You’re gonna be tied to this for the rest of your career.'”

Fortunately for Dimitroff, it was a trade he was tied to. Jones was selected to seven Pro Bowls in 10 seasons.

Belichick was asked about that 2011 conversation prior to Super Bowl LI between the Patriots and Dimitroff’s then Falcons. (Yes, you remember correctly, the 28-3 game.) He, in true Belichick fashion, wasn’t thrilled with the topic getting brought up before the big game, but did offer some praise for Jones.

“Again, I really don’t see any point in going back over that conversation. It was a long time ago, and it doesn’t really have an application to what is going to happen on Sunday,” Belichick said in February 2017, per NFL Network. “But I have great respect for Julio Jones, and I had a lot of conversations with (Alabama) coach (Nick) Saban about Julio. Nothing but positive things about the player, and from what I have observed, the way that he plays and competes, he is one of the top players in the league.”

Perhaps Belichick will be more interested in swinging a trade of his own for Jones one decade later? After all, the 32-year-old receiver, a two-time All-Pro, certainly paid off for Dimitroff.

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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