June 3, 2021

10 NFL Teams That Need to Trade for Falcons' Julio Jones, Ranked

The 2021 NFL Draft is behind us and next season's schedule has been unveiled, but there is still a lot of excitement left in the NFL offseason.

For starters, there is the drama between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, although it’s anybody’s guess what will happen there. The other storyline to watch ahead of training camp involves the Atlanta Falcons and wide receiver Julio Jones.

The Falcons are in a bad spot as far as the salary cap is concerned, which could force them to trade their aging All-Pro receiver as a way to get some financial relief. The good news is that it shouldn’t be tough to find a willing trade partner.

Below, we've ranked the 10 teams that should do whatever it takes to land the 32-year-old pass-catcher. 

10. Baltimore Ravens

Think about what Lamar Jackson has done with Baltimore’s underwhelming set of wide receivers over the past couple of seasons and then imagine what he could do with a receiver like Jones.

Adding Sammy Watkins in free agency while doubling up in the draft on receivers in Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace will hopefully help the anemic Ravens' passing attack take the next step, but they pale in comparison to what Jones could do for Baltimore. 

Jones would give the Ravens a legit No. 1 option in the passing game who could open things up for Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown to get single coverage. He could also teach all his dark magical ways to his understudy in Bateman. 

The Ravens realized they needed to add playmakers this offseason, and Jones would be a no-brainer in Charm City. 

9. Los Angeles Chargers

Justin Herbert had arguably the greatest rookie season by a quarterback in NFL history, and that was throwing to guys named Tyron Johnson, K.J. Hill and Jalen Guyton

Imagine what wizardry he could pull off with Jones starting opposite of Keenan Allen

The Chargers have already rebuilt their offensive line to protect their prized possession in the former Oregon product, and now to maximize his sky-high potential, they need to add more weapons in the passing game. 

For the price, Jones obviously makes sense on the field, but he'd also be a nice attraction for a franchise that just needs fans in the stands. 

8. Seattle Seahawks

The championship window could be closing fast on the perennial playoff contender. 

Before the Aaron Rodgers drama hit the fan on draft day, there were rumors running rampant that Russell Wilson might want out of Seattle. While those whispers have died down — mainly due to salary cap complications — they could pick up next offseason. 

But one way to maximize their championship window is to continue to add win-now talent like Jones. 

The Seahawks are already short on draft assets thanks to their trade for Jamal Adams, but they could offer a second to the Falcons for Jones' services. 

He'd form arguably the greatest receiver trio in the league with DK Metcalf and the newly signed Tyler Lockett while making the highly competitive NFC West even more of a bloodbath. 

7. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts hope that their quarterback question has been answered with Carson Wentz. However, Indy’s receivers aren’t that much better than what Wentz had during his last couple of seasons in Philadelphia when the Eagles were ravaged with injuries.

Michael Pittman flashed some potential as a rookie last season, but T.Y. Hilton just isn’t a No. 1 receiver anymore and his ability to remain healthy is an issue. Much like the Eagles, the Colts might be asking Wentz to be too much of a savior, creating an obvious need for a player like Jones.

6. New England Patriots

How ironic would it be for the Patriots to finally trade for a top-flight wide receiver after Tom Brady left and won a Super Bowl with another team? It’d also be somewhat fitting to draft former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and then bring in one of the great Alabama wide receivers of all time.

More importantly, an elite receiver has been New England’s biggest need for several years. N’Keal Harry, a first-round pick from two years ago, hasn’t emerged as a reliable target. Adding Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, and a couple of tight ends probably isn’t enough either.

The Pats need a player like Julio Jones if they want to give Mac Jones or Cam Newton a fighting chance this season.

5. Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders are awfully young at wide receiver with their projected starters heading into either their second or third pro season. Even with veterans like Willie Snead and John Brown coming aboard, Las Vegas could use a high-end receiver like Jones.

Derek Carr is good, but he needs more talent around him if the Las Vegas offense is going to keep pace with the Chiefs or even the Chargers, who have found their quarterback for the future in Herbert. The organization has put its faith in Jon Gruden and needs to give Gruden the best players available to get the job done.

4. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have invested a lot into the wide receiver position and have received somewhat questionable results. 

After spending a first- and second-round selection on Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, respectively, the Niners are still slightly thin at pass-catcher. 

While they could use a slot receiver to join their two young wideouts and the great George Kittle, adding Julio could unlock this Niners offense and help a rookie quarterback in Trey Lance

Jones also has the Kyle Shanahan connection from their days in Atlanta. 

3. Tennessee Titans 

The Titans have had a tough offseason on the offensive side of the ball. 

They lost No. 2 receiver Corey Davis, starting tight end Jonnu Smith and offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. That might be good news for A.J. Brown's fantasy stock, but it leaves some big holes on the Titans' offense. 

As it stands, the Titans would replace Davis with Josh Reynolds, which doesn't really get the juices flowing. But pairing AJB with Julio Jones would be borderline erotic. Tennessee would throw out two of the most physical receivers in the league on the same offense along with the bruiser in Derrick Henry. That's a lot to handle for any defense, especially in a very winnable AFC South. 

2. Kansas City Chiefs 

This wouldn't be fair, but the Chiefs have shown the willingness to trade for talent and maximize their championship window. 

And the Chiefs sneakily have a big need at wide receiver. After losing Watkins to the Ravens, the Chiefs have Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and not much else in the passing game, which makes Jones a great option for Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid in Kansas City. 

The salary cap might be an obstacle, but it hasn't stopped the Chiefs before. 

1. Green Bay Packers

If the Packers want to convince Aaron Rodgers to stay in Green Bay, trading for Jones would be a nice way to do it. Financially, it may not be viable because the Packers are close to the bottom in terms of salary cap flexibility. But if there’s a way to make it happen, trading for Jones could send a message to Rodgers that the franchise wants to win and wants to keep him.

Pairing Jones with Davante Adams would be a nightmare for defenses to stop, but it would be the best — and most entertaining — landing spot imaginable for the end of Jones' prime. 

Photo: Getty Images/Lines Illustration