If the Colts decide to target a receiver at the trade deadline, this deal for Falcons superstar Julio Jones could actually work.
The Indianapolis Colts have been struggling to get production from their wide receivers for several weeks now. While the injuries to 2020 second-round pick Michael Pittman Jr. (foot) and sophomore breakout candidate Parris Campbell (knee) haven’t helped matters, the sheer decline in usually-consistent stud TY Hilton has been tough to watch.
We don’t want to write the four-time Pro Bowler off, but his numbers suggest that he can no longer be trusted as Indy’s No. 1 option. For context, Hilton has managed over 65 receiving yards in just one game this season and has had four or fewer receptions in five of six games thus far. He’s also been held under 100 yards in 15 consecutive (!) games.
The emergence of Marcus Johnson, who led the team in receiving on Sunday against Cincinnati with five catches for 108 yards on eight targets, has been timely, but he simply has no business being the top wideout on a playoff-caliber team. That, however, is unfortunately the reality of things for the Colts right now, so we wouldn’t be surprised if general manager Chris Ballard browses the trade market for a WR ahead of the Nov. 3 deadline.
Well, per ESPN, it’s possible that the Atlanta Falcons decide to shop superstar Julio Jones (along with quarterback Matt Ryan)in the coming weeks with their season currently tailspinning. It goes without saying that Ballard would be smart to at least enter negotiations with the NFC South bottom-feeders, so let’s dive into what a trade for Jones might look like.
Jones is evidently one of the top wideouts in the NFL, so he will clearly come at a price. However, with the Falcons reportedly looking to unload intriguing assets in order to expedite a looming rebuild, Indianapolis might be able to get away with a decent deal.
In our eyes, the Colts will likely have to cough up both a first- and fourth-round draft pick in 2021. We know that Ballard has an outstanding reputation in terms of identifying talent in the Draft, but a player of Jones’ billing would simply be worth the price of admission. On top of that, the 51-year-old GM would still be able to work his magic in the second and third rounds, which is actually where he’s done most of his damage since taking the job back in 2017.
Acquiring Jones, who’s locked up for the next three seasons after inking a three-year, $66 million extension last September, would give the Colts a great excuse to move on from Hilton after the season when his contract expires. Plus, they’ll have the cap space to absorb that large salary. Perhaps Atlanta will ask for more than a first and a fourth, but Jones will be under contract for his age-32-35 seasons. That’s not exactly his prime. And he’s coming at a high cost.
A wide receiving corps with Jones and Pittman lined up on the outside and Campbell wreaking havoc in the slot would make Indianapolis’ aerial attack — depending on who they bring in at quarterback, of course — nearly unstoppable. Throw Johnson’s home run ability into the mix and you have one of the most dynamic WR groups in the entire NFL.