A few months back in the early offseason, a few subtle rumors began to emerge stating that Julio Jones wanted out of Atlanta. These rumors were confirmed on May 24th when Julio Jones declared that he was done with Atlanta on live television. As expected, rumors entered a frenzy pointing that nearly every team had interest in the six time Pro Bowl Wide Receiver. But who wouldn’t? Even at his age of 32, Julio Jones is one of the league’s top receivers, and would be a huge gain to any offense. Jones missed a total of seven games last year, just the second time in his 10 year career that he has not played in at least 13 games. The year before, Jones put up an astounding 1,394 yards on 99 receptions. What’s even more incredible is that just one year before that in 2018, Jones lead the entire league in receiving with 1,677 yards on a whopping 113 receptions.
Now, how do the Chargers fit into this? Well, it’s complicated, just like it is for nearly every other team in the league. Initial odds released by Draft Kings had the Chargers tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the best odds to trade for Jones at +500. Although that his the highest they have been in the past week, they have consistently had top 5 odds. Other teams that have had their name thrown around a lot include the Colts, Titans, Patriots, and 49ers. These four teams, plus the Chargers, seem to be the consensus five most likely destinations for Jones by Vegas betting odds and NFL Insider reports. At 6’3″ 220 pounds, Jones is an athletic freak that will contribute for years to come, and really help Herbert develop. Paired up with Keenan Allen, the two would be near unguardable, as defenses will be forced to play both in single coverage the majority of the time. Additionally, Jones would add another veteran to a receiving core full of young guys with amazing potential, like speedsters Tyron Johnson and Jalen Guyton, 3rd round draft pick Joshua Palmer, and jump ball extravagant Mike Williams. The lethality of this potential offense should encourage the Chargers to at least pick up the phone and listen to Atlanta’s demands.
As one would expect, the price for one of the league’s top playmakers is expected to be quite high. Initial reports stated that the Falcons were looking for a 1st round pick in return, but now a 2nd round pick plus later picks seems to be much more likely. Generally this isn’t a move that the Chargers and General Manager Tom Telesco would make, but it seems like one they almost certainly have to. The best window for NFL teams to win is that four year period when the Quarterback is on their rookie contract, because they have an abundance of extra money to spend elsewhere. Due to this, the Chargers are one of the four teams that can afford to take on Jones’ large cap hit of approximately $15 million. It just makes no sense for a team (the Chargers) to enter the season with $20 million in cap space available with a 2nd year QB. The Chargers need to maximize this time period, whether it’s Julio Jones, or another option, but something needs to be done. Acquiring Jones would obviously be the most impactful move.
It should be a no-brainer for the Chargers to pull the plug and trade for Julio Jones, especially if the asking price doesn’t include a 1st round pick. Ultimately in the end, this is the case for many teams, and where Julio wants to play will carry a lot of weight. There have been a few rumors that the Chargers were Jones’ number one team of choice, but these rumors have existed for just about every team that is considered to be in the race, and have been constantly changing. At this point, it’s just a crap shoot to where Jones ends up, with what seems like half the league to be in the mix. If the Chargers do end up as the lucky winners, Tom Telesco will have no regrets and they will be competing as one of the top teams in the NFL for multiple years.