The Baltimore Ravens trading for Julio Jones would be a game-changer. It wouldn’t just have an overwhelmingly positive impact on the 2021 campaign, but it would also throw a ripple effect into Eric DeCosta’s long-term plan.
Let’s get this out of the way right now, Julio Jones can still play at a high level. If the Ravens traded for Jones it would be a huge upgrade at the wide receiver position. It’s the kind of move the Ravens faithful have been dreaming up for years. In many ways, it would be a dream come true, a proven number one receiver.
There are some things in the way of this though. so it’s important not to lose sight of that. Jones would be a costly addition to the Ravens. According to spotrac.com Jones is set to have a cap hit of over $20 million dollars for the 2021 season. If you remember, the Ravens didn’t have that kind of scratch for a receiver in free agency. The cap hit doesn’t get much better in 2022 either.
The Baltimore Ravens have to get a long-term deal done with their quarterback. Lamar Jackson is most likely going to get something between $40-50 million. The Ravens will want to keep Mark Andrews and he could be as costly as any tight end in the NFL.
The Ravens don’t have a lot of cap room at the moment. They would have to work some magic and this move would take most of the flexibility that they could have. This wouldn’t be putting all the eggs in one basket, it would be limiting though.
If the Ravens made the trade for Jones they would need the Falcons to eat up some of the cap hit. The main reason Jones is available is because of that cap hit. There are a lot of hiccups that could come along in negotiations between the two teams, should they even occur.
The Ravens also have to be careful in how much they give up to get Jones. If Jones eats up a big chunk of their cap parameters, then the draft becomes that much more important. Everything you can’t afford after lavish moves for the offense has to be gotten in the NFL Draft.
Jones is a 32-year-old receiver. If the Ravens are actually willing to get a number one wide receiver in this offense, they should simply draft one with one of their first-round picks. This would have a chance of being the better long-term play. It’s better and more prudent team building.
If you’re willing to go get Jones, just trade up and get a superstar in the first round. The extra first-round pick could be used to make one special selection with a trade-up.
Does that put a lot of pressure on a team that traditionally struggles to draft the wide receiver position? Yes. It’s still more logical than doing a dream trade that would be this hard to pull off. The positive impact of Jones would be countered by the cost of the assets the Ravens give up for him and the cap hit he takes on for the Ravens.
The Bottom Line:
If the Ravens get creative they can get this deal done. If they do, however, it is going to have a cost down the line that may not sit well with Ravens fans.
As a Ravens fan, not just a guy who covers the team, I’d love to be wrong here. My writing isn’t aimed to be the Debby Downer of your day. Still, I just don’t see this trade happening.