It’s been no secret since the NFL calendar year officially began in early March that Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons were headed for an NFL divorce. The only real question that remained was when the official separation would happen and what exactly would the Falcons receive in return for the seven-time All-Pro receiver.
The NFL draft came and went in April, and Julio Jones was still a member of the Falcons.
The first week of June passed, and still no trade was announced.
According to the NFL rumor mill at the time, over the past several weeks the Falcons were weighing multiple different trade packages from several interested suitors for Jones.
When the dust finally cleared this past weekend, the Falcons traded Jones to the Tennessee Titans for a second-round pick in 2022 and a fourth-round pick in 2023.
So what happened to the rumored first-round picks that other teams were possibly offering the Falcons for Jones?
John Clayton, who has reported on the NFL for over 30 years, and is a member of the NFL Hall of Fame Writer’s Wing, joined Dukes and Bell on Monday to share his expertise.
“If the Falcons had a No. 1 on the table, they would have taken it," according to Clayton. "Simple as that.”
When asked by Mike Bell if he felt a first-rounder could have been possible if the Falcons would have offered a team to pay part of Jones' $15.3 million salary in 2021, Clayton shared insight.
“Probably," said the analyst. "But I still don’t think a No. 1 was ever offered.”
We will never truly know how many offers the Falcons were considering or what they did or did not include at the time, before the Titans and Falcons agreed to terms Sunday.
But what we do know is that Julio Jones’ Falcons career is officially concluded. He arrived in Atlanta in 2011 via a mega draft-night trade, and he departed in 2021, via a trade of a much lesser proportion.