Julio Jones good fit for Lions, but not going to happen

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (Brynn Anderson/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports)
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (Brynn Anderson/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports) /

The national headlines are ablaze with talk about the possible landing spot for Atlanta Falcons’ All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones. That after the seven-time Pro Bowler announced to the world that he’s out in Atlanta. But are the Detroit Lions a good fit?

On Tuesday, Jones indicated to Shannon Sharpe on the FOX Sports show “Undisputed” that he’s “out of there” when referring to the Falcons. During that impromptu phone interview, Julio also indicated that he wants to win when asked about potential teams he wanted to play for.

If the 32-year old Jones is looking to win now then Detroit is likely not an option. The Lions are in the midst of a rebuild and are predicted to be one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2021. Although, the future looks bright for the Motor City as the team owns multiple first-round selections in the next two NFL drafts after trading quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams earlier this year.

As for the question of whether Jones would be a good fit in Detroit, he’d surely be welcomed. The Lions currently possess one of the weakest wide receiver corps in the league after parting ways with Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., Danny Amendola, and Jamal Agnew this offseason.

In their place, the Lions opted to sign several free-agent veteran receivers on one-year deals. That means wideouts like Tyrell Williams, Kalif Raymond, Damion Ratley, Breshad Perriman are going to be expected to play major roles for the Lions and new quarterback Jared Goff. So adding a true number one receiver like Julio Jones (when healthy) makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense for the Lions is what it would require to trade for Jones, who is under contract for the next three seasons in Atlanta. Julio is scheduled to make a salary-cap hit over $23 million this upcoming season according to spotrac.com. Jones, a 10-year veteran, is also coming off an injury-plagued season which limited him to just nine games in 2020.

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Using a substantial amount of salary cap space plus draft picks to acquire an aging All-Pro who has already indicated he wants to play for a winning team makes zero sense for the rebuilding Detroit Lions in 2021. Even if Jones was a free agent, the Lions would seemingly not be on his radar. And it seems just as likely Julio would not be on theirs.