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Falcons coach Arthur Smith considers Julio Jones trade a 'win-win'

Jun
23
6/23/2021 12:52:10 PM
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Arthur Smith watched his new Atlanta Falcons team trade generational wide receiver Julio Jones to his old club in Tennessee. After weeks of speculation, the coach wasn't sideswiped by the trade, Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports.

During an interview on Cris Collinsworth's podcast, Smith defended the trade, noting that getting Jones' $15.3 million contract for this season off the books helped alleviate salary cap headaches for the Falcons.

"We knew the issue with the cap, and then obviously the cap went down this year, coming off the bizarre year with the pandemic, the cap actually shrunk. So we knew there were going to be some big decisions we would have to make coming up. The way everything worked out, we feel pretty good," Smith said, via Pro Football Talk. "We feel like it was a win-win. With the salary cap, and Julio going to Tennessee and us right now being able to solve our short-term issue with the cap."

In exchange for the salary dump, the Falcons received a 2022 second-round pick and a late-round pick swap in 2023.

Trading Jones away doesn't make the Falcons better in 2021 but does clear some cap issues down the road. Smith's comments suggest he knew when taking over in Atlanta the rebuild might not be a one-year turnaround. If Atlanta saw itself as a Super Bowl contender this season, it wouldn't have traded away a field-tilting talent like Jones despite the contract issues.

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