The Indianapolis Colts have been listed as a destination for Julio Jones, who reportedly demanded a trade from the Atlanta Falcons earlier this offseason.
Fans are likely having trouble making sense of these rumors, and understandably so, given how many twists and turns this saga has produced lately.
At first, it looked like the Colts were out of the running given their financial situation and need to extend some homegrown stars. Then, it was reported the Falcons would be willing to trade Jones for as little as a second-round pick and fans changed their minds.
As it turns out, however, Indianapolis’ interest in Jones materialized long before his trade demands came to a head this week.
Per insider Benjamin Allbright, the Colts showed interest in Jones leading up to the draft.
Wait, what? For as much as this rumor might fortify Indianapolis’ chances of landing Jones, it doesn’t come close to lining up with the pragmatic timeline.
The Colts being linked with Julio Jones before the draft doesn’t add up.
Let’s start by saying that we aren’t discrediting Allbright’s report. He’s one of the most credible insiders in the industry, so don’t get that twisted.
However, the Falcons were never going to trade Jones until after June 1, so why would teams show interest leading up to the draft? After all, if a team trades a player after that date, his remaining bonus can be allocated over two seasons. The same can’t be said for players who are dealt before that cutoff.
Getting beyond that, the Colts expressing interest during the draft also makes no sense considering the assets they gave up to acquire Carson Wentz. Indy was already without a third-round pick and trading for Jones would’ve further depleted them of potential selections.
The extent to which the Colts sniffed around a Jones trade last month is unclear and we understand the logic behind trying to get ahead of the field. However, trying to trade for the former No. 6 overall pick that early in the process would’ve been reckless given that it’s just recently been reported he could be acquired for a second-round pick.
Nevertheless, the Colts’ post-draft activity has further complicated their chances of trading for Jones, as they signed free agent left tackle Eric Fisher to a one-year, $9.4 million deal. Now, they have roughly $15.3 million in cap space at their disposal, so they’ll have to get creative in order to create the requisite wiggle room (about $4.4 million) to absorb Jones’ contract.
That would likely entail restructuring somebody’s contract (maybe Wentz?). Whatever ends up happening, it doesn’t change the fact that Indy’s pre-draft interest in Jones made absolutely zero sense given the sheer unlikelihood of the Falcons trading him before June 1.