As is the case with nearly big name that hits the trade block, there’s been some discussion surrounding future Hall of Fame wideout Julio Jones as a possible trade target for Howie Roseman and his Philadelphia Eagles.
I don’t think anyone would deny that giving Jalen Hurts and veteran playmaker like Jones would be alluring, but let’s be real with ourselves — the Eagles aren’t a realistic suitor for Jones’ services.
There are a few reasons for this, but first and foremost, Philly doesn’t have the cap room to pull this off. Jones is set to have a base salary of $15.3 million in 2021, then $11.5 million base salaries in both 2022 and 2023. According to OverTheCap, the Birds have $4.3 million in cap space right now. Trading Zach Ertz could free up about $8.5 million, which would bring the Eagles to about $12.8 million in cap space.
Howie Roseman knows how to manipulate the cap better than any general manager in football, so he could possibly make it work after an Ertz trade. But that type of manipulation and maneuvering is what lead to the tight cap situation the organization found themselves in this offseason.
The strategy of trying to win now and worry about the money later was a sensible strategy the past few seasons, but right now, the Eagles aren’t in win now mode. They have a rookie head coach, a first year starter at quarterback, and unproven starters all across the board. Nick Sirianni is attempting to build chemistry with these guys, throwing someone like Julio into the mix just doesn’t make sense.
Wide receiver is still a need for this team, but the 32-year-old Jones isn’t the logical answer to fill that need. DeVonta Smith is a No. 1 wideout and he should be in for a big rookie season. Adding Jones to the mix wouldn’t necessarily take away from Smith’s production and development, but it would surely stunt the growth of Jalen Reagor and Travis Fulgham, two guys who need as much playing time as possible this season.
Jones is an all-time great receiver, there’s no denying that. But do you really think he wants to spend the final years of his career with a team that isn’t competing for a championship? No chance. And the Falcons won’t do Jones dirty like that. He’ll more than likely be involved in picking the team he wants to go to.
I believe the Eagles are trending upwards, but Jones isn’t the missing piece to take this team over the top.
The Eagles have several needs to fill before they propel into the contender conversation. Not to mention that they don’t truly know if Hurts is the answer at quarterback. Jones isn’t going to team up with an unproven signal caller when teams like the Ravens, Packers, 49ers, Chargers, Titans, and yes, even Carson Wentz and the Colts, are calling Atlanta.
I would’ve been all for adding Jones two years ago, or even last offseason, but it doesn’t make sense to do it this offseason.
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