Julio Jones trade is likely wishful thinking for KC Chiefs fans

Oct 25, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) makes a catch in front of Detroit Lions linebacker Reggie Ragland (59) during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) makes a catch in front of Detroit Lions linebacker Reggie Ragland (59) during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The NFL trade block added another name on Monday with reports that the Atlanta Falcons are taking calls for wide receiver Julio Jones. But K.C. Chiefs fans shouldn’t get their hopes up over any potential deals that could bring the All-Pro to Arrowhead.

Given the week the Chiefs are having, it makes sense that fans could believe anything is possible. Just days ago, the Chiefs went from serious concern at left tackle, one of the most important positions on the field, to employing one of the most decorated young tackles in the entire game with the Orlando Brown trade. Not only did the Chiefs convince the Baltimore Ravens to bolster a conference rival, but the price paid was quite a bit less than anticipated.

Beyond that, the Chiefs have already enjoyed a banner offseason. They’ve completely reinvented the offensive line after suffering an overwhelming loss in Super Bowl LV, one in which the primary breakdown came between a battered offensive front for K.C. and the pass rushing prowess of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Chiefs brought in Brown and Joe Thuney to form perhaps the league’s best left side, and there’s much greater depth on the right with the import of Kyle Long and the return of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Lucas Niang.

Alongside this, the Chiefs also lured Jarran Reed to sign with the team after his release from the Seattle Seahawks, giving an already stout interior line that much more depth and talent. Reed should be a well-rounded addition in the middle to add disruption alongside Chris Jones and Frank Clark.

A trade for Julio Jones sounds nice but isn’t likely for Chiefs fans.

Given the key additions thus far, the Chiefs are clearly among this year’s Super Bowl favorites, which makes the all-in approach of trading for Julio Jones a talking point. If the Falcons, as sellers, are getting rid of a franchise legend like Jones, then it makes sense for those teams who are pushing their chips to the middle to consider trading for him.

It also makes sense given the Chiefs’ primary need at this point. The team watched Sammy Watkins leave in free agency to the Ravens on a one-year deal, vacating the X receiver role on the offense. The team, at this point, is without a big, physical target and could use a veteran import of some type. In fact, the team already chased JuJu Smith-Schuster and others in free agency only to come up empty-handed in that regard. Jones, who stands 6’3, 220 lbs. certainly fits the bill.

While there are some dots to connect, however, Chiefs fans are likely grasping at straws on this one. First, Jones is already 32-years-old and coming off of a season in which hamstring issues held him out of 7 regular season games. That’s not to say he wasn’t effective in 2020—he still had 86 yards/game and even set a career-high in most yards/target in ’20 with 11.3—but the age/injury combination here is not trending in a desirable direction.

Secondly, Jones isn’t exactly cost-prohibitive but he’s not cheap in any way. The Falcons would likely trade him, per reports, as a post-June 1 transactions, which would allow them to stomach the dead cap hit over two seasons. But any team trading for him is still on the hook for guaranteed salary, which means a cap hit of over $15 million in ’21 and over $11 million in ’22.

Third, the Chiefs just unloading young, cost-controlled assets in one trade for Orlando Brown. Given the impact of Jones on the field and his fair price tag for the potential (as a two-year, $26M+ rental), the Falcons should be able to expect a decent return. What if the cost was two second-round picks for the Chiefs or even a future first?

As for the cost, the Chiefs could make it work since they’ve also yet to restructure Tyrann Mathieu and they could also push more money out in Patrick Mahomes’ mega-contract (which will be a running theme every offseason for the next decade). At that rate, it’s possible to see Jones alongside Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill and Clyde Edwards-Helaire in a historic offense that would be must-watch TV for anyone. But the Chiefs would be leaning heavily into veteran space when they don’t necessarily need to, and would consequently sacrifice the balance of being long-term contenders if they give up more draft assets.

It’s entirely possible that Brett Veach at least throws something out there for the Falcons to consider. Jones is, after all, a singular talent and when a brass ring is available, it makes sense to chase after it. But the cost in terms of money and draft assets combined with the age/risk factor in Jones’ career arc likely makes it all wishful thinking for Chiefs fans in the end.

Next. Second round targets for the Chiefs. dark