When a team considers trading a player, the best leverage often comes from the team credibly saying, “Sorry, we’re not trading him.”
For the Falcons, that becomes a harder sell, now that Jones has declared, “I’m out of there.”
Then again, it already was clear that the Falcons want to trade him. Although they haven’t announced it, the persistent reports operate that way, to the trained eye. League insiders and observers know that he’s available, and that the Falcons want to move on from him.
Now that the cat’s out of the bag, someone leaked this to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media: “The All-Pro requested a trade from the organization a few months ago, sources say, and the team then agreed to listen to offers. That’s how it began and why it continues.”
That still potentially understates the fact that the Falcons want to move on. Maybe Jones started it, but the Falcons have been trying for weeks now to finish it.
Maybe the comments from Jones will serve as a catalyst for trade talks, smoking out any and all interested teams. If Atlanta eventually can get two or more serious suitors to the table, the Falcons have a better chance to get closer to the second-round pick they want.
Again, one major factor will be whether and to what extent the Falcons are willing to pay part of his $15.3 million salary for 2021, which is guaranteed for skill, injury, and cap.
It’s nevertheless looking more and more likely that a trade will occur, if the Falcons and a new team can find a sweet spot of trade compensation and shared salary obligation.