Star wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, Julio Jones, has asked for a trade and things have heated up thanks to a phone call during FOX Sports “Undisputed” on Monday morning. The call has people talking about where Jones might land in a trade, with one reporter suggesting the Detroit Lions as a sensible landing spot.
So, let’s take a look at this possible scenario – the pros and the cons – of Jones joining the Lions.
Jones is a fantastic talent that will make fans remember the days of receiver Calvin Johnson. The Motor City has a thin group of receivers with a couple of free agents and a couple of young draft picks for quarterback Jared Goff to throw the ball to. Jones would be a clear-cut number one wideout on this team, something that the Lions current group hasn’t proven to have yet.
Simply put, Jones is a game-changer. Having him on the outside would also open up room underneath for tight end T.J. Hockenson to work. As an ascending player, Hockenson’s value would shoot sky high with a proven threat out wide to pull coverage.
Finally, the run game should have more room to grow as coverages are pulled further downfield thanks to Jones’ big playability. It’s an improvement for every phase of this Detroit Lions offense and may seem like a no-brainer to try and acquire him.
The Lions are at the beginning of a rebuild, err … a retooling. Call it what you want, but they are still getting the right pieces in place to be competitive. To do that, they need to maximize their draft capital. Acquiring Jones would immediately take one of their two 2022 first-round draft picks, maybe more. Depending on what else they’d have to give up, this is already a large investment away from year 2022 and beyond to try and win today.
Another thing that is important to look at is the salary cap hit Detroit would take in 2021 with Jones on the roster. He’s guaranteed $15.3 million this year and the Lions have about $18 million before signing their entire 2021 draft class. They could probably make it work if they got creative, but this would cash-strap them for midseason signings and the need to fill holes due to potential injuries. Not the best way to start a season.
Finally, is Detroit even a place Jones would want to come? Are the Lions ready to win now? The answer is no, they’re not ready to win right now, despite what fans might want to believe.
All we need to know
In the video above, Julio Jones also said, “I wanna win.” And that comment is pretty much all Lions fans need to hear to know that he’s not going to end up in Honolulu Blue.