FLOWERY BRANCH - Monday morning, several national outlets reported that the Atlanta Falcons were listening to trade offers for star wide receiver Julio Jones. Monday afternoon, Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot responded to the reports in a 1-on-1 interview with FOX 5.
"You have to listen if people call," said Fontenot. "On any player. We are in a difficult cap situation, that's just the circumstance. It's not a surprise for us."
Jones has three years remaining on his current contract, and the Falcons find themselves in a tight financial situation, even after parting ways with several well known players in the offseason. Those moves included releasing safety Ricardo Allen and not re-signing safety Keanu Neal or center Alex Mack.
Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and ProFootballTalk's Peter King all reported on Monday that the team could consider moving on from Jones, in large part for the salary cap relief. Making the trade effective after June 1st, the reports speculate, would allow the Falcons to spread the salary cap hit from the trade across the next two seasons.
"Our administration getting us in position to be able to manage the cap, yet we still have more work to do," said Fontenot. "So when teams call about any players, we have to listen. We have to weigh it. We have to determine what's best for the organization."
Jones is a 7-time Pro Bowler, but is coming off a season where he dealt with several injuries. Prior to the 2020 campaign, Jones has 6 straight seasons where he went over 1,300 receiving yards, missing a total of just 4 regular season games during that stretch.
"Obviously that particular player, we hold him in high regard," said Fontenot. "He's special, what he's done, and what he continues to do here. But, we have to consider any players if it's right for the team because we have to do what's best for this organization."