Aaron Rodgers continues to be trying for appeasement from Packers administration. Julio Jones is prepared and keen to depart the Falcons. But is there actually an reasonably priced approach for Green Bay to pair its NFL MVP quarterback with Atlanta’s elite extensive receiver?
Putting Rodgers and Jones collectively seems like a win-win resolution on paper, however when that paper turns into cash, the Packers aren’t in a great spot. They shall be nearly even with 2021 wage cap as soon as all of their rookie draft class is signed. Jones is assured $15.3 million in wage for this season and carries greater than a $23 million cap hit for the Falcons. Only Atlanta (thus the curiosity in shifting Jones), Chicago and New Orleans have worse cap conditions than Green Bay.
The Falcons have been trying to get a first-round draft choose in alternate for Jones, however given he is 32 and coming off a hamstrung season, a second-rounder or a package deal of picks appears extra life like. Green Bay can additionally benefit from the truth that Atlanta might get extra restricted curiosity in Jones than anticipated, together with his age, damage and compensation including up to a sophisticated combine for some contending groups.
The Packers are unlikely to go “all in” for a deal to purchase Jones for Rodgers’ sake, however the chance is extra cheap than one would possibly assume. Here’s a breakdown how a Jones trade may go down for them:
1. Restructure Aaron Rodgers’ contract
This could be the quickest approach to acquire massive cap aid. The Packers have already got achieved this three instances for high-priced gamers in 2021 with adjusted offers for exterior linebackers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith and left deal with David Bakhtiari. They have been hesitant to do the identical for Rodgers due to the extra cap bind it will create for future seasons.
But if Rodgers was referred to as upon to do that to accommodate getting Jones, he can create about half the area wanted, significantly lowering his present $37.2 million cap hit. The Packers’ entrance workplace additionally could be sensible to seek the advice of with Rodgers when contemplating Jones vs. informing their QB after the very fact.
2. Give Davante Adams an extension
The Packers already make use of an elite extensive receiver who’s nonetheless in his prime. Beyond giving Rodgers a harmful co-No. 1, the field-stretching Jones could be an incredible complement to Adams’ high-end possession and purple zone talent set.
Adams, a pending free agent in 2022, should not thoughts having his new profitable deal accelerated by the acquisition of Jones, given Jones’ presence will solely assist keep his excessive degree of manufacturing. Between new offers for Rodgers and Adams, the Packers ought to be proper on the quantity to make it work with Jones within the quick time period.
3. Be keen to half with a first-rounder
The Falcons might have an inflated tackle Jones’ open-market worth. The Packers, nevertheless, should not thoughts paying a premium to make sure that he would not go to one other NFC contender. They ought to really feel assured they’ll have one other late first-rounder in 2022.
That is likely to be excessive for what might be a “rental” participant who would possibly give Green Bay three strong years at most. But that is additionally for how for much longer Rodgers is signed and Jones can hold the crew’s Super Bowl window extensive open for that span. The Super Bowl-champion Buccaneers, who beat the Packers within the NFC championship sport, have been taking a identical short-term win-bigger now method. Given how a lot Tampa Bay has gone into assault mode to hold its roster loaded, Green Bay should not draw back from matching the aggressiveness.
4. Consider throwing in some younger veterans
The Packers will not be sending veterans with massive contracts to Atlanta given the Falcons can’t and should not take these on as a crew in rebuilding mode with a brand new coach and GM. But they might use just a few items as they adapt to a brand new offense with Arthur Smith and a brand new protection with Dean Pees.
Should Jones come to Green Bay, then the Packers can transfer a younger extensive receiver, Allen Lazard or Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Power operating again A.J. Dillon may need some enchantment as Atlanta has Mike Davis as the highest speeding possibility. Defensively, finish Dean Lowry is probably the most expendable up entrance. With their secondary depth points, the Falcons would possibly like having Josh Jackson at cornerback or security.
This may not be vital to land Jones, however there are sufficient children to sweeten the pot and restrict the draft choose compensation. There’s one first-round expertise, nevertheless, the Falcons ought to need most.
5. Sell Falcons on stashing Jordan Love
How loopy would it not be to give Rodgers a second go-to man and in addition take his successor out of the equation? The Falcons, by buying and selling Jones, would sign they’re much less excited about propping up Matt Ryan later in his profession and extra excited about a QB transition plan quickly.
That was on the desk earlier than the draft with all of the Trey Lance rumors earlier than the Falcons locked into tight finish Kyle Pitts at No. 4 total. The unique thought was that Pitts could be a powerful complement to Jones and Calvin Ridley, however now it is clear Atlanta is trying to Pitts and Ridley to be Ryan’s new 1-2 punch.
Ryan, the 2016 MVP, has light from that degree whereas Rodgers is coming off arguably one of the best of his three MVP campaigns. Love has comparable dimension, arm, passing and athletic traits to Ryan Tannehill, whom Arthur Smith helped to thrive in Tennessee. It could be laborious to see the Falcons saying no to a Jones deal when getting the Packers’ 2022 first-rounder and 2020 first-rounder in return.
6. Be comfy with extra cap points sooner or later
The Packers maneuvered loads to change into cap-compliant of their present state, and Rodgers and Adams give them two further paths in case of a Jones trade. Worrying about 2022 an excessive amount of is futile, when the one aim, after two 13-3 seasons with Rodgers beneath Matt LaFleur, is breaking by to a Super Bowl. There shall be completely different alternatives to get cap aid then, understanding it isn’t simply this yr with Jones.
Rodgers continues to be right here now, and the dedication to making him content material is not about subsequent yr. For the Packers, the long run on which to focus kicks off in September and getting Jones with out giving up an excessive amount of makes it lots brighter.