The Indianapolis Colts prioritizing contract extensions for the likes of Darius Leonard, Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith has apparently taken them out of the running for a potential Julio Jones trade, which seems inevitable at this point.
For as much as we’d like to see Jones in a Colts uniform, our hopes of that coming to fruition were pretty much killed off when general manager Chris Ballard apparently laughed at the idea of acquiring the former No. 6 overall pick in a text to Pat McAfee.
However, a lot can change in a week … like Atlanta’s rumored asking price — or at least what they’d be willing to settle for — for Jones being significantly less than we anticipated. Per insider Albert Breer, the Falcons would “probably” accept a second-round pick for the seven-time Pro Bowler.
That settles it: the Colts must table their caution and pull the trigger if this is true.
Julio Jones’ rumored price tag proves the Colts must trade for him.
It’s duly noted that the Colts are wary of the cap consequences that would come with trading for Jones, whose three-year, $66 million extension is about to kick in, but hear us out.
If teams like the Chiefs and Buccaneers were able to make significant moves in free agency this offseason while being right up against the cap, shouldn’t Indianapolis, which has over $13 million in remaining cap space, be able to make absorbing Jones’ contract work?
There are a myriad of cap loopholes begging to be exploited, and Ballard, one of the most financially-adept GMs in the league, should do whatever it takes to find one now that it’s been revealed that Jones could be acquired for as little as a second-round pick.
As for the folks who claim the Colts don’t need another WR, this roster is on the precipice of competing for a championship. This window isn’t going to be open forever, and Jones would make them a title contender overnight. Why settle when you can have the very best at a bargain?
Even better for Indy is the fact that Jones has already made up his mind about leaving Atlanta. He reportedly asked for a trade months ago and revealed to Shannon Sharpe live on “Undisputed” on Monday morning that he still fully intends on finding a new home before next season.
Not that the Cowboys were ever considering trading for Jones, it bodes tremendously well for the Colts that there’s one less team in the running for his services.
Is it unfair of us to ask Ballard to jump through financial hoops to acquire Jones? Maybe. But the fact the star receiver having seemingly played his final snap for the Falcons suggests they might be open to eating a portion of his salary to make a trade work.
In any event, the last few offseasons have proved the salary cap doesn’t really exist, so the financial excuse isn’t going to work this time. The best pound-for-pound WR in the league is available for a Round 2 pick and the Colts don’t currently have a star at the position.
That’s the bottom line.