Four days away from a Julio Jones trade potentially becoming official, the Falcons still don’t have an unofficial deal in place for Jones.
The problem is that the Falcons still want too much for him.
Teams in the know regard the expectations as “outlandish.” The asking price continues to be a first-round pick and full assumption by the new team of his $15.3 million guaranteed salary in 2021, along with another $2 million in guaranteed pay for 2022.
Someone leaked to Dianna Russini of ESPN that the Falcons have a first-round pick on the table for Jones. As one league source said in response to that news that, if someone was offering the Falcons a first-round pick for Jones, the Falcons would (or at least should) take it.
There’s another intriguing dynamic that team executives have noticed. As one league source expressed it to PFT, if the Falcons truly had a first-round pick on the table, the report would have been confirmed by now, by one of the various reporters at NFL Media or the Atlanta Journal-Constitution or one of the other major outlets covering the sport and/or the team.
There’s also a degree of inconsistency within ESPN. On Saturday, Jeremy Fowler said on SportsCenter that the team he hears more than any other as a potential Jones destination is the 49ers. But the 49ers don’t have a first-round pick to trade in 2022. Fowler also said that the Ravens are interested if the price is right. Well, if there’s a first-round pick on the table, the price will never be lower than that. Then there’s the fact, as teams have noticed, that current king of the ESPN NFL insider mountain Adam Schefter has said nothing about whether the Falcons do or don’t have a first-round pick on the table for Jones.
As previously reported, the Falcons could have gotten a 2022 second-round pick with no salary obligation before the 2021 draft. There’s currently no reporting as to both draft-pick compensation and the equally important question of whether and to what extent the Falcons will pay a portion of his salary for the coming season.
Maybe teams are holding their best offers until Wednesday. Maybe their best offers already have been made. However, the Falcons first accelerated the effort to trade Jones nearly five weeks ago, and they seem no closer to striking a tentative deal now than they were then.