What are the Seattle Seahawks thinking when they put themselves into trade discussions with the Atlanta Falcons for 32 year old Wide Receiver, Julio Jones? Yes it’s true, John Schneider fancies himself as a general manager that would like to be part of any talk when discussions revolve around a player the caliber of Julio Jones. And maybe that’s all this is. Just being involved to gather your own information and intelligence around the deal. It has also been reported that virtually all the teams in the NFC West are interested in potentially trading for Jones. It’s understandable why.
In Arizona, Fitzgerald hasn’t fully determined if he will play one more season. The Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has DeAndre Hopkins on one side, but would love to have a proven pro bowl talent to pair with him. They drafted Rondale Moore this past May, but he is more of a Slot WR and gadget player. Jones is a legit #1 outside WR. In Los Angeles, the Rams traded away Jarrod Goff this off-season for a superior arm talent in Matthew Stafford to take command of Sean McVay’s offense. He has Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods in the fold, but lack a proven 3rd weapon. Julio Jones would instantly revitalize that group and return the Rams as a serious threat to take the division. In San Fransisco, they still have Jimmy Garoppolo as the stand in quarterback, until they understand what they have in the number 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, 21-year old QB, Trey Lance. The 49ers are not without talent at the skill positions. With George Kittle at Tight End, Deebo Samual, Brandon Aiyuk, Mohamed Sanu, Jalen Hurd and Travis Benjamin at Wide Receiver, all ready on the roster. But it gets pretty squishy after those first three, and both Kittle and Samual have had injury impact their ability to be available. Adding a player like Julio Jones would take a solid group and make it even better.
That brings us to what the Seattle Seahawks are thinking. Well, no one can really know for sure. Here are the facts. Julio Jones is 32 years old. Jones is coming off a season that showed a considerable drop of in production from the 2019 season. Jones was injured in 2020 and only suited up and started in 9 games. He did have 51 catches for 771 yards and 3 touchdowns. Those numbers do indicate that when Jones was available, he was still playing at his career average production level. That injury was a hamstring tear that ended up keeping Jones off the field for half the season. At age 32, an increased injury rate and lack of availability have to be factors to consider. Another issue is the actual compensation that the Atlanta Falcons are reportedly asking for in return for the pro bowler. It’s understood that the Falcons are seeking a 1st round pick, although it’s thought a 2nd round pick may get the deal done. Teams such as New England, Tennessee, Arizona and now the Seahawks have been mentioned in that conversation . Next is actual compensation to the player. Jones is currently under contract. His 2021 base salary of $15.3M is fully guaranteed and the Falcons would also take on a ton of dead cap space to trade him. Jones is also under contract in 2023 with a base salary of $11.513M. $2M of that salary is guaranteed by his new team.
Finally, what are the Seahawks thinking about with adding Julio Jones to an already solid lineup at the skill positions including at wide receiver? Seattle has Lockett and Metcalf. Already considered one of the best tandems in all of pro football. They also drafted D’ Eskridge in the 2nd round of this years draft to presumably be the #3 WR on the roster. They also have Freddie Swain and a number of contenders on the 90-man roster for the remaining spot or spots. In addition, the Seahawks have Everett, Dissly and Parkinson at Tight End and Carson, Penny and Dallas to receive the ball out of the back field. Would it make sense for Seattle to add Jones into this mix? According to Russell Wilson, it would make perfect sense. In fact, according to Dianna Russini of ESPN, the discussion got to a point where Wilson spoke with Jones about the potential of forming a duo with him in Seattle. There is no question that adding Jones would make the Seahawks offense better, and further please a restless Russell Wilson. But is it the most effective way to spend resources to add the right talent?
For me, the trade compensation for Jones at this point in his career is too steep. If you could flip a 3th or a 4th round pick for Jones, it’s a no brainier to add that level of talent to your roster. But considering that our own roster is not in dire need of more talent at wide receiver, and ball distribution will already be an issue, the cost is too high. Factor in the contract and Jones’ age and recent injury, I believe the Seahawks would be best served passing on this player and this deal. If the Seahawks are seriously considering spending money on a veteran or two to help out on the roster at a position of need, they should go out and spend the money on KJ Wright and Richard Sherman at the Strong Side Linebacker and Cornerback spots. Those moves would have a larger impact, not cost you any draft stock and would get you one step closer to contending for a Super Bowl this season.