Julio Jones is a name that was mentioned quite often around the NFL trade deadline and many felt that the Atlanta Falcons could move him. That did not end up happening, but the rumors are going to come up again this offseason. One team to keep an eye on could be the Las Vegas Raiders.
When the rumors were swirling prior to the trade deadline, the Raiders came up quite often. Jon Gruden and company are looking to power their way back into the playoffs and acquiring a player like Jones could help them do just that.
This season, the Raiders finished 8-8 and were disappointed with that result. The Falcons, on the other hand, were 4-12 and appear headed towards a rebuild. Jones likely would not be a part of that rebuild.
If the Falcons do choose to get younger and rebuild, trading Julio Jones for picks and/or young players would make a ton of sense. The Raiders would be more than willing to give up a quality pick or two to make a trade happen.
Let’s take a closer look at how the Raiders and Falcons could come together on a big-time Julio Jones blockbuster trade.
The Hypothetical Trade
Raiders Receive: Julio Jones
Falcons Receive: 2021 First-Round Pick, 2022 Third-Round Pick
Any team that wants to acquire Jones will need to pony up a first-round pick in this draft. The Falcons could bring in a talented wideout in the first round, and could even get Heisman Trophy Winner Devonta Smith at No. 4 overall. Having another later first-round pick to draft another need would be valuable.
For the Raiders, they want to win now. Derek Carr showed that he can still be a quality franchise quarterback, Josh Jacobs is a workhorse caliber running back, Darren Waller is a stud tight end, and the Las Vegas defense was much improved.
During the 2020 season with the Falcons, Jones had a bit of a down year. He caught 51 passes for 771 yards and three touchdowns, but only played in nine games. Jones struggled with injury issues for most of the season.
With Calvin Ridley taking over as the top wideout in Atlanta, trading Jones makes even more sense. As for the Raiders, they should not be scared off by the down year for Jones. If he can stay healthy, Jones is still one of the elite wideouts in the game.
If the Raiders truly want to get back to being a contender in the AFC, they need to make some big moves and take some risks. Some may view giving up a first-round pick and a third-round pick as too risky for a 31-year-old wide receiver coming off of a down year. But, Gruden and company should still pull the trigger.
Expect to hear quite a few Julio Jones rumors this offseason. Quite a few teams would have interest in acquiring him. However, the Raiders are one of the top potential landing spots and they should be aggressive to get a trade done with the Falcons.