DJ Bien-Aime II: Message to Jets: Go get Julio Jones from Falcons

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In this file photo, Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons makes the second quarter reception against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 06, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. - Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America/TNS

NEW YORK — Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones made a statement on Monday morning that set the football world on fire.

“I’m outta there,” Jones told Shannon Sharpe on Fox Sports’ “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed.”

And according to reports, the Falcons have been trying to move Jones for some time and have been trying to fetch a first rounder in return. Although ESPN’s Jeff Darlington speculated Tuesday the Falcons may only be seeking a second- or third-round pick at this point.

“I would be shocked if he gets traded for anything more,” Darlington said.

So he’ll be moved. And 31 NFL teams should be calling them for the future Hall of Famer’s services and that includes Gang Green.

But will the Jets trade for Jones? Probably not because of where they are in their rebuild and the Falcons’ asking price. But if price is around a second- or third-round pick the Jets should absolutely make that move. Why? The marriage would work from a scheme fit and help Zach Wilson’s development.

Jones played in Kyle Shanahan’s west coast offense for two seasons (2015 and 2016) and was first-team All-Pro both years. It’s the same offense that new Jets offensive coordinator Mike LeFleur will run. He had career bests in 2015 with 136 catches for 1,871 yards. He followed that up with 83 catches for 1,409 yards in 2016.

So, Jones is familiar with the offense. But let’s be real, he would crush any scheme he’s in. The Falcons could have run a Wing-T offense and he still would have gone for over 1,000 yards.

“This organization is going to lift you, not the other way around,” is what head coach Robert Saleh told Wilson on draft night. Adding Jones would be plenty of lifting.

It would make Wilson’s rookie season significantly easier. And to Jets fans that say they don’t want him, let’s put you under a lie detector test. I bet you’ll fail.

Adding Jones gives Wilson another weapon to help him succeed. He’s arguably a Top 10 all-time receiver and the second best receiver of the 2010s behind Antonio Brown. He’s a five time All-Pro and seven time Pro Bowler. His career stats are 848 receptions for 12,896 yards and 60 touchdowns. He’s 20th all time in receiving yards and is only 32, so he still has a few more years to play at a high level.

Last year Jones dealt with a lingering hamstring injury that caused him to miss seven games. But when he was on the field he was productive as he had 58 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns.

If you’re worried about Jones’ age, don’t be. Terrell Owens, Larry Fitzgerald, Jerry Rice, James Lofton, Cris Carter and Steve Smith are Top 10 all time in receiving yards. And they were all Pro Bowls receivers past the age of 32.

So no reason to see Jones slowing down yet.

Look at what successful teams have done to add weapons for their young quarterback.

The Bills landed Stefon Diggs for Josh Allen, the Browns provided Baker Mayfield with Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham. Patrick Mahomes has Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. The Chargers have Keenan Allen and Mike Willliams for Justin Herbert. The Cardinals have DeAndre Hopkins for Kyler Murray.

Imagine Wilson having a receiving core featuring Jones, Corey Davis, Denzel Mims and Elijah Moore. It would be a problem for opposing teams.

Defenses would have to focus their coverage on Jones. That’ll leave Davis, Mims and Moore in one-on-one coverage the entire game.

Jamison Crowder isn’t included because it wouldn’t make sense to have three receivers in Jones, Davis and Crowder with a cap hit of over $10 million.

According to overthecap.com the Jets have $24,200,351 in cap space. The Jets could take on Jones’ $15.3 million salary in 2021 but only have $2 million in guaranteed 2022 salary to think about. If they were to release Jones ahead of 2022, they would only be left with $2 million in dead money, having paid him $17.3 million on a one-year contract. But I don’t envision a one-year rental if they made this move.

Crowder has a cap hit of $11,352,932 but with a dead cap number of only $1 million, the Jets would save $10,352,932. So the Jets cap space situation would work. So releasing him to bring on Jones makes sense and the Jets would still have cap space.

The one issue is, Jones says he wants to play for a winner and the Jets aren’t that yet. That could cause some friction within the locker room but he’s never demonstrated to be a locker room problem even when the Falcons had losing seasons. But the best way to keep a receiver happy is pay him and feed him the ball. The Jets are equipped to do both.

It would be a no-brainer for Gang Green.