So Shannon Sharpe, the former NFL great turned FS1 broadcaster, decided, while live on his television show Monday, to call Julio Jones.
Jones, the two-time All-Pro Atlanta wide receiver, answered and, apparently unaware that he was on television, quickly revealed that he isn’t going to be a Falcon for much longer. “I’m out of there, man,” Jones said.
Here in the bizarro 2021 offseason, it somehow made sense that a franchise star would, perhaps unwittingly, reveal his future on live TV. After all, it feels like half the league’s quarterbacks are demanding trades, hosting game shows or fending off nearly two dozen civil lawsuits from massage therapists.
In some cases, it’s two out of the aforementioned three. Jones had been reported to be on the trading block, of course, so this isn’t a shock. He’s had a legendary career with the Falcons, but he’s also 32 years old and set to cost $23 million against the salary cap this season and $19.3 million in each of the next two.
Atlanta went just 4-12 last year and is engaged in a pseudo rebuild. It’s sticking with quarterback Matt Ryan for now, but just drafted tight end Kyle Pitts fourth overall to bolster the passing attack. Expensive veteran wideouts don’t usually fit into these kinds of plans.