2. Jones’ Pricey Contract
If we’ve learned anything about Ballard during his first four years as the Colts GM, it’s that he’ll never absorb a contract that would paralyze his spending budget.
With homegrown stars like Darius Leonard, Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith due for contract extensions this offseason, trading for Jones (which means taking on his contract) would make it virtually impossible for Indianapolis to extend all three of those players.
When you consider that each of them is just entering their respective primes and that Jones is essentially exiting his, why would the Colts willingly swallow his three-year, $66 million extension that’s about to kick in next season? They (especially Ballard) obviously wouldn’t.
If the Colts trade for Julio Jones, they won’t be able to extend all of their homegrown stars.
For context, Jones will account for a combined cap hit of $61.57 million over the next three campaigns. That includes a dead cap hit of $65.7 million, so it’s not like Indy would be able to salvage anything if they decided to cut bait with him at any point during the contract.
We obviously think the world of Jones. In fact, we’d argue his consistency over the last 10 years has been grossly unappreciated.
However, if we had the choice between trading for an aging Jones and only being able to keep two (or one) of Leonard, Nelson and Smith or simply keeping the WR corps as is and ensuring all three of those three studs have futures with the Colts, we’d side with the latter every time.