Julio Jones trade talk has gotten spicier.
The star wideout was on a call with Shannon Sharpe on FS1's debate show "Undisputed" where he stated "Oh man, no, I'm out of there, man" in regards to his status in Atlanta.
This officially makes it clear that Jones is on board with a trade, and it's not solely the Falcons' idea. Jones ideally wants to go to a team that can provide a winning environment. One team that can do so is the San Francisco 49ers. Jones will get to reunite with Kyle Shanahan and be surrounded with a bunch of talent on offense. The 49ers would surely love to have him. However, acquiring Jones is tricky considering draft capital and salary cap space.
Regardless, there are ways the 49ers can make a trade for Jones work.
The easiest and ideal way to make it work would be to cut Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers have roughly $10 million in salary cap space (h/t David Lombardi of The Athletic). There is no way they can make Jones fit in this state. Simply cutting Garoppolo would free up about $24 million in cap space. Suddenly bringing Jones on is a possibility. All that would be questioned at this point would be the draft capital needed to get him.
Acquiring Jones would clearly improve the offense of the 49ers. The situation would be perfect for Lance to step in and start Week 1. He'd have an abundance of receivers to throw to, a sound running game and a phenomenal play-caller. It would be ludicrous to not have him start. Plenty of rookie quarterbacks would have wished for a scenario that Lance would be in if Jones is acquired. Lance is in the best position out of all the rookie quarterbacks in his draft class. By having all of this talent, it helps reduce the amount of growing pains. At least, that is the hope. Lance is the future of the 49ers. There is no point in dawdling and wasting his cost-effective rookie contract by having him sit the season.
Other than cutting Garoppolo, the 49ers can restructure contracts of current players. Jimmie Ward is one player that they can do it to push the money back. Extending some of their current players such as Fred Warner would also give them a chance to free up money by backloading deals. But this is a method the 49ers do not use often. They like to keep their salary cap in a respectable position. Yet, if they really end up pursuing Jones, it is the most likely route they will take.
Getting a deal done for Jones is not a necessity, but a luxury for the 49ers. They will either need to conduct one move by cutting Garoppolo to get it done, or conduct multiple moves to fit Jones' contract. It is possible to make a trade for him work, but the 49ers probably do not want to forfeit much more draft capital since they are lacking the first-round picks the next two seasons.