Four years ago, the Atlanta Falcons traded away a bunch of picks to move up from number 27 in the first round to number 6. It seemed like a lot at the time and there were high expectations for Julio Jones after the stunning trade.
Trades like these don’t happen very often, a few years back, the Jaguars traded up from number 26 to number 8 to select Derrick Harvey. The Saints shocked the NFL in 1999 when they traded their whole draft to select Ricky Williams. The Atlanta Falcons trade was just as shocking as the other two but has worked out so far.
The Falcons risked their future for Jones and the receiver has paid them back. He is one of the best receivers in the league and the Falcons just rewarded him with a new contract.
In the 2011 NFL Draft, the Falcons sent a late first round pick, a second round pick and a fourth. The trade didn’t end there, the Falcons also threw in a number 1 pick for 2012 and a fourth rounder. Falcons general manager was recently asked if it was worth it and he said absolutely.
Numbers and New Deal
He is right, no player in the history of the team has gained more yards in one season than Jones did last year with 1,593. He is also in the franchise’s record book for being one of four players to finish a season with more than 100 receptions.
The Falcons rewarded him yesterday, with a new five year deal worth over $70 million. The deal makes him the second highest paid receiver in the league. With the new contract, Jones is guaranteed $47 million of that. Only Calvin Johnson has more guaranteed money, with $53.25 million. The Detroit Lions star receiver signed that deal three years ago.
The Browns, who had the chance to select Jones with the number 6 pick, took the offer from the Falcons. It sounded good for them because they were trying to rebuild the team. The offer gave them many picks to start working on that but it didn’t work out.
The first round pick was used to trade up and select Phil Taylor, who is the only player from their draft that is still on the team. The three selections after that were used on Greg Little, Owen Marecic and Brandon Weeden. The fourth round pick for 2012 was used as part of a package deal to get Trent Richardson, who was shipped a year later to the Colts for a first round pick. Trading Richardson and getting great value out of him was smart because he failed to make an impression with his new team and is now trying to make the Oakland Raiders roster.
The first round pick from Richardson was later used on Johnny Manziel, who has not done much in Cleveland. The Browns would have had a great receiver with Jones, they currently have Dwayne Bowe, who came over from Kansas City, after two disappointing years. They do have a star in Josh Gordon but his career is on thin ice after being suspended by the league several times.
Jones has done a lot for the Falcons but that doesn’t mean the team is doing great. The Falcons have 10 wins in the last two years and will look to rebound this season.