MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is not at the mandatory mini-camp this week in Flowery Branch.
It’s mandatory. He is supposed to be there.
But he’s not.
Jones is not happy with the fact Matt Ryan got paid a fortune a few months ago and he might not be happy the Falcons drafted another Alabama wide receiver, Calvin Ridley, with their first-round draft pick. So, he’s not there. Well, he didn’t practice a lot last year, either, so we’re used to this. And yet, this is just another drama with this football team.
The brotherhood that head coach Dan Quinn always talks about is not there now. Jones has three years left on his current contract. He’s played only 40 percent of that deal, and he’s holding out. If he had one year left, it might make sense. But three? No, this is stupid.
Look, this is a math problem. The Falcons would have to release three players – probably defensive players – if they wanted to tear up that contract and give Jones more money. They can’t do that. If they want to be a Super Bowl contender, in a year when the Super Bowl is in their home stadium, they must have a great defense.
But they could afford to part with their top receiver. Do you remember who the top receiver for the Eagles was last February? Probably not, since teams can win titles without a top receiver. The Falcons cannot allow this to infect this team, this locker room, with more dysfunction. They need to trade Jones now. It comes down to either paying him what he wants or trading him.
I don’t Jones to leave, but the math doesn’t work. The NFL has a hard salary cap, and they just can’t afford to give him more money without a drastic change on the roster. So, what else can they do but trade him?
Rick Flatford of Fox Sports Radio was on our radio show Tuesday and said the Colts, Seahawks and Cardinals have inquired about Jones. The Titans and Giants talks with the Falcons before the draft. But what will Atlanta get back now, at this point in the calendar, for Jones? It’s not the best time of the year to trade a player. And yet, it might not matter. They may have no choice but to get what they can at this point for Jones and move on. If this lingers into training camp a month from now, it’s going to be even more of a mess.
So, the Falcons are now left with little choice but to explore trades for Jones. He’s thrown the brotherhood right out the window and is being your typical selfish NFL player. He’s under contract – for three more years – and this is a mandatory mini-camp, and yet Jones is not there.
The Falcons have no choice. Trade him now.