The New York Giants’ two biggest moves of the season were signing Kenny Golladay and drafting Kadarius Toney to improve their wide receiver corps. Now that Julio Jones is officially on the trade block, does it make sense for the Giants to trade for him?
The Falcons were unable to secure a first-round pick for Jones, so the Giants would likely need to give up only a second-rounder at most. Considering that New York has five selections in the first three rounds next year, that will not be an issue.
However, trade value is not the problem. Jones is the second-highest paid wide receiver in the NFL and carries a $23 million cap hit next year. That is an eye-popping number for any skill position player, let alone one who just turned 32. James Bradberry‘s $13 million cap hit is currently the highest on the Giants’ payroll.
Jones’ natural size and athleticism will keep his age from slowing him down too much, but he did begin to show some reliability issues last year. With one exception, he finished every game with either more than 90 receiving yards or less than 50. There are already question marks surrounding Saquon Barkley‘s return from an ACL tear and Daniel Jones‘ ability to limit turnovers. What the Giants’ offense needs is consistency. Julio Jones may no longer be able to provide that.
But General Manager Dave Gettleman appears to be in a win-now mindset, and landing Jones would be the boldest move of his Giants tenure. New York’s offense ranked 29th in the league last year in total passing yards, and though Golladay and Toney are talented, they are not instant fixes for such an abysmal performance.
A trade for Jones would suddenly make Golladay the NFL’s best No. 2 receiver. Even in the twilight of his career, Jones still dictates the opposing defense’s game plan. He was an excellent complement to Calvin Ridley last year, a wideout comparable to Golladay in terms of both age and production. Ridley averaged 11 yards per target with Jones on the field and eight yards per target without him. The coverage Jones draws would also help deep threat Darius Slayton get open more often.
As with most discussions about the Giants, everything hinges on Daniel Jones. Julio Jones’ cap hit would be manageable for a couple of years while Barkley and Daniel Jones are on their rookie deals, after which Jones will be nearing retirement. If New York believes they have found their franchise quarterback and will be playoff contenders for the next few years, they need to be on the phone with Atlanta.
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