Just about everyone knew that if the Atlanta Falcons were to trade Julio Jones, it would be after June 1.
However, many didn’t realize it could come as late as training camp, which begins towards the end of July.
Why? Because June 1 was merely the first day in which the Falcons knew they could save millions in dead cap. It wasn’t a deadline for them to make a deal.
They just couldn’t have traded Jones before then or else it would have resulted in financial disaster.
Yeah, the salary cap. Makes sense. It’s very real and scary … (eye roll).
Here’s why the Patriots may not trade for Julio Jones until training camp.
As usual, it’s complicated. Open season on submitted offers for Jones wasn’t expected to take place until June 1, but the Falcons are in no rush. Sure, they might not have the necessary cap space to sign their draft picks, but they don’t have to do so until training camp, which gives them plenty of time to mull offers or figure out how they’ll move forward with their star receiver.
Maybe the extra time can change the Patriots’ minds. Based on recent reports, New England is more concerned about inheriting Jones’ contract than surrendering draft capital for Jones, which is a bit bizarre since the team has ample cap space to make this happen.
Typically, Bill Belichick is more concerned with maintaining assets rather than being pressed up against the cap.
Not to mention the cap will be going up once again in 2022, a year in which the Pats will have plenty of money coming off the books with the expiring contracts of Cam Newton, Stephon Gilmore, Devin McCourty, Trent Brown, Dont’a Hightower, Adrian Phillips, James White, Sony Michel, JC Jackson, and others. There’s no doubt a number of those guys will be retained, but millions will be available when you combine that with the expanded cap.
There’s also billionaire Robert Kraft, who can make life easier and theoretically convert some of Jones’ base salary into a roster bonus so there are fewer dollars against the cap for 2021 and beyond. Plenty of ways to get this done and cope with the financial implications a bit later on.
Either way, if the Patriots don’t trade for Jones in a week, or two, or five, it’s because the Falcons aren’t in any rush to do so … unless there’s an offer that blows them away. If that’s the case, then you can finally count the Pats out.