The Ravens are going to have to run a risk-versus-reward assessment to figure out if there is any possible fit for wide receiver Julio Jones, according to former GM Randy Mueller, who says that while Baltimore could be a destination for the Atlanta Falcons superstar, other teams may be better fits.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Jones was drafted sixth overall by the Falcons in 2011. He wants out of Atlanta, and the Falcons have been shopping him around to see what they can get for the 32-year-old wideout who is set to make $15.5 million guaranteed in 2021. Atlanta is in need of cap space, so the Falcons are willing to part ways with the receiver. Jones has caught 848 passes for 12,896 yards and 60 touchdowns during his career.
“[Jones] can still play. He fits in just about any system. He may not be the world-class sprinter he once was, but he still can play, he can still get open, he still makes contested catches. … I think it depends really on your team and the status of your roster,” Mueller said on Glenn Clark Radio May 26.
Mueller was the general manager of the New Orleans Saints from 2000-2002 and Miami Dolphins from 2005-2007.
“I don’t think it makes sense for a rebuilding team, per se, to go get Julio Jones,” Mueller said, “but I think a team that is playoff ready and could use another piece, I think it for sure makes sense if you could get him for the right price.”
The Ravens might run into a few issues while acquiring Jones. The Ravens are a bit “cap-strapped,” according to Mueller, and other teams may be better positioned to add the receiver. If Baltimore were to trade for Jones, he’d have to work with the team to lessen his cap hit for 2021, pushing some money into the future.
“I do think teams make mistakes more often than not when they say, ‘We’re one player away,'” Mueller said. “There are usually not many teams that are one player away. That’s the uniqueness of football. One player, yeah, he can make a difference, but there are so many moving parts and so many other things involved.”
“If the Ravens got to that point saying, ‘This guy puts us over the top,’ I frankly don’t see that but I could see a need,” he added.
The Falcons understand that Jones wants to leave, and GM Terry Fontenot was even hinting at Jones wanting to leave around the draft. Both the Falcons and Jones have been very good at communicating what they want out of the situation, according to Mueller, but Fontenot has to have the best interest of his team in mind, which could mean that Jones could land just about anywhere.
Jones might be worth a second-round pick, but Mueller explained that the receiver is not as valuable as he once was due to his age and recent injuries. The former GM believes the Falcons will realistically get a third-round pick for Jones.
Mueller mentioned the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots as better fits for Jones cap-wise than the Ravens.
“The one team that would like to call off the jam and just end it is Atlanta,” Mueller said. “They need the money. Time is of the essence for them, and I think the other teams see that.”
For more from Mueller, listen to the full interview here:
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