• In the Monday morning column, we touched on Julio Jones’ business status, and the biggest question that seems to come out of that is, quite simply, Why? Why would new Falcons coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot trade one of the best players in franchise history? I think there are three answers to this. First of all, the money. Atlanta’s salary cap is a mess and promises to be a problem again in 2022, and that’s why the Falcons’ new brass me to look at the options for draining capped money – and the best way to do that is to do it while getting something back. Really, there are five massive contracts in the team books: those of Matt Ryan, Jake Matthews, Deion Jones, Grady Jarrett and Julio. The team let other teams know at the start of the offseason that they would listen to anyone. After simmering that outgoing offer, they remade three of the aforementioned deals (Ryan, Deion Jones, Matthews), essentially locking up these guys. That leaves Julio and Jarrett as the two tradable veterans, Jarrett owed $ 43.5 million the next three years and Julio owes $ 38.3 million the next three years. The second element to this is what Julio himself wants. And it’s been an open secret for a while now that he had his eyes on the release, which naturally makes him a better business candidate for Smith and Fontenot than someone who’s all-in on their new program. Jones, through his agent, reached out to the team about a trade in March, and that’s when the Falcons started to generate interest from other teams. Third, there’s what Julio really has left …• The piece relating to what Jones left in the tank is fascinating, as he really is a moving target, and goes straight to his health. Jones suffered a broken bone from Jones preparing for the 2011 combine – a foot injury that he has to deal with, really, for the duration of his 10-year career. He also had knee problems. And all of that led to astute defensive coaches choosing routes he could and couldn’t go when these issues bothered him. With the foot, he would have trouble on breaking roads. With the knee, he would have a hard time cutting it. In both cases, patterns emerged where the Falcons were working around these injuries, displacing Jones a lot and not putting him in disadvantageous places. So if you’re a team negotiating for him it’s definitely not a thing all the time, but you would have the prospect of dealing with it. And then there’s how it all could affect Jones’ ability to train, an issue that could become more important for a new team where he has to learn a new system and connect with a new quarterback. Now that all said: When he’s healthy, in flash he still looks the same guy and has the straight-line speed to threaten on the pitch. “I think he’s still Julio in the sense that he can change a game, whether it’s with his actual ability or his perceived ability,” said a director of professional screening. “People still have to watch out for him. But for the last couple of years when he’s not in good health, you’re limited in what he can do in the attack, because there are certain roads he can’t go. This limits their alignment, and some coordinators are smart enough to understand what he can and cannot run. Add his age into the equation, and while it’s easy to see where Jones is still really attractive as a player, it’s just as simple to see why other teams would act with apprehension on this one, in particular. looking at what it might be on the line. . • One comp I thought of here was Larry Fitzgerald, who has put in a very impressive lap over the past half-decade, essentially transforming himself from a nifty, dominant (so slow) inside / outside receiver to a big one. very productive niche thanks to its 30 s. It seemed to me that, maybe, this is where Jones is going to end up, if he wants to keep playing until his mid-thirties. And I’m sure he could learn a lot from Fitzgerald in that regard. But a few people pointed out to me that it was not the same. Fitzgerald wasn’t particularly fast in his prime and is slower now, while Jones, for the above details, still has plenty of straight-line speed. He’s also always been a hard worker, which would lead you to believe that even if it leaves him, he will have the ability to adapt.
• As for what the Falcons are doing to replace Jones in the offense, here’s what Ryan told me he didn’t allow him to work with Kyle Pitts (who isn’t a wide receiver, like Jones but could bring the kind of match problems to the offense that Jones a): “I just think more than anything, attention to detail. It will make the difference. The good players I have known in my career are focused on the details. And he has that kind of mentality. If he stays in that kind of space, just to improve himself daily, improve himself a little, absorb all the knowledge he can, that will serve him the best. That’s good news for Atlanta, considering how much Pitts brings to the table.• It was interesting to see Lions tight ends coach Ben Johnson say to TJ Hockenson, “There’s still a lot of meat on the bone” when it comes to his development, because I really think that in looking at the landscape of Detroit, it is ready for a big year. First, his new head coach Dan Campbell was a tight end in the NFL. Second, his offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn has helped bring Hunter Henry and introduce him in the Chargers offense for the past two years. Third, Johnson, his current coach, is a holdover from the last staff member (he also worked with Campbell in Miami), which means there is a good institutional knowledge of what Hockenson can and cannot do. over there. And four, with Kenny Golladay gone, Hockenson is clearly the weapon at Jared Goff’s disposal with the highest cap. If he can stay healthy, I think a great year is coming.
• No one should be surprised by Urban Meyer and the Jaguars having an affinity with new Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. One thing Meyer absolutely brings with him from Florida and Ohio State is his philosophy that speed is the great equalizer, and he doesn’t hide it either. “My vision, my dream, is always to be the fastest team on the pitch,” he told Jacksonville media earlier in the offseason. Waddle therefore falls into the same category for Meyer as Kadarius Toney and Travis Etienne. The difference between these three? He was never going to be able to write the first, he thought he might be able to take the second and he wrote the third.• I think it’s at least interesting that a few of the coaches who have bent the most to change their off-season schedules to accommodate their players have played in the league themselves. Colts coach Frank Reich (Indy cut phase III to one week, knocked out 11-11) is one example. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona only uses three of their allocated OTA days) is another.
• Cowboys QB Dak Prescott told ESPN’s Sage Steele he can play in a game right now, if there is one, and not have to think about his rehabilitated right leg. This is good news, and for more reasons than to believe. Due to the injury his work with Mike McCarthy has been somewhat limited so the coach and quarterback will now have time to make up for that. And with Prescott on the court, and I expect the Cowboys to be judicious with him at this early stage, second-year wide receiver CeeDee Lamb should be able to build a better rapport with Prescott and position himself to do so. a big step forward. . The Cowboys offense, if everyone is healthy, could be pretty scary.
• News of the Bucs and Titans’ joint training continued shows you how far the league, its teams and all of us are where we were last year. And I would expect to see more as we get back to normal, with many coaches seeing joint practices as more productive than preseason games, and there are also now fewer preseason games. .• I wouldn’t mind Aaron Rodgers’ no-show in Green Bay. Most of the veterans aren’t here anyway, as we told you on Monday morning with players and coaches still not in agreement on what OTAs look like. And once Rodgers gets to the point where his $ 500,000 practice bonus is gone, you assume the odds decrease that the $ 95,877 in fines he would incur for missing the team’s mandatory minicamp matters to him. . As we said for a moment, the rubber hits the road in this situation with a training camp.
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