BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With one of their two first round picks in this year’s draft, the Ravens selected wide receiver Rashod Bateman, adding another weapon for quarterback Lamar Jackson to work with in the passing game. While the rookie could certainly make an impact immediately, there could be another option on the table. According to a column from Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, the Atlanta Falcons want to trade wide receiver Julio Jones.
Schultz points out in the column that the Falcons wanting to move Jones is a result of a variety of factors, the biggest of which is the team’s dire salary cap situation. According to OverTheCap.com, the Falcons currently have just $412,351 of cap space which, as Schultz notes, isn’t enough to sign their draft picks. The team could restructure Jones’ contract but according to Schultz, that’s unlikely. So, that would leave them with trading the veteran receiver. From the column:READ MORE: Baltimore County Public Library Hires Full-Time Social Worker
“If the Falcons trade Jones post-June, they would carry a dead-cap hit of only $7.75 million, thereby saving $15.3 million in space. A trade remains the most logical scenario.”
Here’s where we get to the Ravens. It was reported in the lead up to the draft that the team called Atlanta inquiring about Jones but that a trade was unlikely due to the size of his contract. With the Ravens currently sitting about $9.7 million under the salary cap, they wouldn’t have enough space to straight up add the veteran. Schultz mentions the Ravens as a potential suitor in the column but also notes that “teams also may seek to have the Falcons eat a portion of Jones’ contract.”READ MORE: Ravens Launch Subscription Wine Club Brand 'Winning Drive'
That type of scenario, where the Ravens have to fit only part of Jones deal under their cap would make a trade for him more feasible. And, it’s easy to understand why the Ravens, and others, might be interested in Jones.
Entering his age 32 season, Jones has averaged 95.5 receiving yards per game over the course of his career. In nine games last season, that number was 85.7 but he posted the highest catch percentage (75%) and yards per target (11.3) numbers of his career showing he’s still a threat. And, in just over half a season he pulled down 51 receptions for 771 yards and three touchdowns. Adding his physical presence to the receiving corps with Bateman, Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, Sammy Watkins and Devin Duvernay would be a dynamic group for Jackson to work with.MORE NEWS: Man Shot In The Head, Killed In West Baltimore Tuesday
But, Jones’ contract does run two more years with cap hits of $19.2 million in each. The question for the Ravens is whether adding him to the roster would put them over the top and in position to topple Kansas City in the AFC.