Reports began to emerge that the Atlanta Falcons were entertaining trade talk for Pro-Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones. In an interview with FOX 5’s Justin Felder, Fontenot didn’t deny it.
“That’s one of those things that when you’re doing things the right way in the organization you have to listen if people call… on any player,” said Fontenot. “We are in a difficult [salary] cap situation.”
“That’s just the circumstance. It’s not a surprise for us; we knew the circumstance we were in. Our administration has done an excellent job up to this point getting us in position to be able to manage the cap, yet we still have more work to do.”
“So when teams call about any players, then we have to listen, and we have to weigh it, and we have to determine what’s best for the organization.”
“And we have to handle everything with class. Obviously with that particular player we hold him in high regard. He’s special, what he’s done and what he continues to do here. But we have to consider any players if it’s right for the team, because we have to do what’s right for this organization.”
If any move were to be made, it wouldn’t happen until after June 1st. That’s the day that dead cap money can be spread against two seasons instead of just one. Making that move would mean Jones cap space would count $7.75M the next two seasons against the cap, while saving $15M each season.
The Falcons are roughly $2.5M under the cap right now, which means they couldn’t sign their draft picks without making an additional move.
The Falcons have been linked to pass receiving tight end Kyle Pitts for several weeks, and he would be a ready made replacement at No. 4 if the Falcons decide they want to move on from Jones. They could probably get a second round pick in return for the 32 year old receiver.
Jones is on the brink of etching his name higher and higher on the NFL Record Books, but will it be as an Atlanta Falcon when he does?