In a bit of a surprise, future Hall of Fame receiver Julio Jones remains a member of the Atlanta Falcons as of this writing. Many around the NFL thought he would be traded Wednesday, the first day that the Falcons would have gotten major salary-cap relief by dealing the league's all-time receiving yardage per game leader. The New England Patriots are among the favorites to land Jones – he probably is dealt by this weekend – and the SportsLine Projection Model has forecasted the impact Jones would have on the Pats.
There have been multiple reports that the Pats have had "internal discussions" about trading for Jones, who reportedly wants Cam Newton as his next quarterback – although, how long before Mac Jones replaces Newton? New England does have the salary-cap space to take on Jones' $15.3 million guaranteed 2021 salary.
One ESPN potential trade offer had the Pats sending a 2022 second-round pick and young QB Jarrett Stidham, who might be released regardless after the team signed Brian Hoyer, to the Falcons for Jones. The site made the salient point that drafting and developing wide receivers has been a challenge (think N'Keal Harry as one example) for the team under Bill Belichick, although New England did land wideouts Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne in free agency.
Those guys aren't No. 1 wideouts. When healthy, Jones still is. New England has had success trading for wideouts, with Randy Moss (who was age 30 in his first Pats season) and Wes Welker as two notable examples.
The one worry with Jones is whether he is breaking down at age 32 after missing seven games last year. The site Sports Injury Predictor forecasts Jones to miss 2.1 games this year and considers him high risk.
Currently, the SportsLine Projection Model (see below) forecasts the Patriots to win 9.1 games with a 20.8 percent shot at winning the AFC East. Adding Jones bumps the Pats to 9.4 wins and a 24.2 percent shot at the division.
Both numbers remain well behind the defending AFC East champion Buffalo Bills (11.3 projected wins, 61.2 percent to win the AFC East), who might soon add Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz, but would push the Pats slightly ahead of the Miami Dolphins (9.3 projected wins, 20.9 percent for division). Needless to say, the Bills' and Fins' numbers would shift down slightly as well if the Patriots got Jones.
William Hill Sportsbook lists the Bills as -155 division favorites, the Dolphins at +340 and Patriots at +350. Buffalo has an Over/Under of 10.5 wins, Miami 9.0 and New England 9.0.
The Patriots do play in Atlanta on Thursday night in Week 11.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Julio Jones' next team
- Titans +200
- Patriots +300
- Seahawks +400
- 49ers +500
- Raiders +600
- Eagles +700
- Ravens +900
- Packers +1000
- Colts +1000
- Chargers +1200
- Washington +1300
- Dolphins +1400
- Jaguars +1500
- Rams +1800
- Cowboys +2000
- Chiefs +2000
|w/ Julio Jones||9.4||55.30%||24.20%||56.10%||5.00%||2.30%|
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