Could the New England Patriots actually land Julio Jones in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons?
That once far-from-reality scenario doesn’t seem as far-fetched as it once was.
Jones’ time in Atlanta reportedly could be coming to an end, and it seems the Patriots are among the interested teams. NFL Network’s Mike Giardi reported the Patriots had internal discussions about the wide receiver, while ex-NFL executive Mike Lombardi doesn’t doubt the team’s interest.
So, what could the Patriots’ package include in a trade for the 32-year-old wideout? The Athletic published three different potential deals involving the San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens and Patriots.
The offer from New England, formed by The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, includes young receiver N’Keal Harry and a conditional Day 2 draft pick. The selection would start as a third-rounder but would become a second-rounder if Jones plays at least 15 games.
Here is what Howe had to say:
There’s some obvious injury concern with Jones, and the Patriots frequently execute trades with conditional parameters, so that?s the reason behind that part of the deal. If Jones can?t stay healthy or misses as few as three games, hey, at least they went for it with a third-rounder. If he?s healthy, the second-round pick won?t be missed.
Jones’ cap hit isn’t a big deal. The Patriots could extend his contract and slice it in half. Keeping him in town on a longer basis would be more beneficial to Mac Jones for whenever the first-rounder wins the job.
As for Harry, the Patriots are still waiting for him to pan out. The clock is ticking there, and the addition of Jones would make it incredibly difficult for Harry to win a job out of camp. The Falcons will likely get a second-round offer elsewhere, so the strategy here is that the Falcons might be intrigued by the possibility Harry could improve with a change of scenery.
That’s certainly a trade the Patriots should be willing to, at the very least, discuss. After all, it’s really not an overpay to begin with and, as Howe pointed out, Jones’ cap hit is manageable.
Oh yeah, and then there’s the whole fact that Jones would immediately become the No. 1 wideout and complete New England’s offseason overhaul, too.