As everyone has heard, probably several times now, the Atlanta Falcons are leaving Julio Jones.
Sad as it is, it is a fact. Julio Jones has said he’s done with the team and the Atlanta Falcons have no choice but to move on.
One thing that can lessen the impact of losing one of the greatest receivers in NFL history is getting another player back for him. It might get fans excited, as it’s one thing to receive future draft picks, but another to get instant feedback by receiving a player who can make the squad in September.
The Atlanta Falcons are expected to demand a player and interim compensation for Julio Jones. It strikes a balance between adding instant impact and the future impact of newly drafted players.
Some positions the Falcons should be looking to receive are wide receiver, running back, defensive lineman and defensive backs. the defensive lineman and defensive back are some of the biggest holes on the roster right now, they could no doubt use a little more talent among those positions.
As for the wide receiver, that is certainly not an emerging need with Julio Jones, but without him it becomes another story.
You would obviously have Calvin Ridley as the primary receiver, but after that it’s a bit murky. Russell Gage would presumably try to play outdoors, but this is a great place for him as he is best suited as a slot machine receiver. The team would need to find another good outside receiver, you can’t rely on Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheaus and rookie Frank Darby to fill that gaping hole.
Of course, you’ve got Kyle Pitts too, but it would be more beneficial to keep him indoors, where he’s apparently most comfortable, for his rookie season as he learns.
An exchange will likely take place next week, as it’s early June, so expect Julio to be a member of a new team in a week.
Here are some players in those three positions the Atlanta Falcons should target in a Julio Jones trade.