Should the 49ers Trade for Julio Jones?

The 49ers could use another receiver outside of Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.
Publish date:

The 49ers could use another receiver outside of Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

Rather than waiting on Jalen Hurd or another player to step up, how about adding star wideout Julio Jones? 

The Falcons have been known to want to get their salary cap back to a respectable level, which is why Jones is available as a trade candidate. One team that could be a destination for Jones is the 49ers. They were mentioned as a trade candidate by Jeff Schultz of The Athletic in his most recent article regarding a Jones trade. Jones is undoubtedly a Hall of Fame player. Watching him wreak havoc on the league year after year has been a sight to see. Adding him to the 49ers offense would improve it. 

However, the cost to get Jones is concerning. Not only is draft capital a concern for a team that will be missing its first-round picks the next two seasons, but the cap cost from acquiring Jones. His cap hit in 2021 is $15.3 million, then $11.5 million in 2022 and 2023. For an aging player who no longer has trajectory, that is quite a sum to get him.

So should the 49ers trade for Jones?

The only way a trade for Jones makes sense is if the 49ers cut Jimmy Garoppolo. Lance will assuredly start at some point in 2021. Paying Garoppolo his high salary as a backup with Jones would be insane. Both of their contracts cannot exist on the team. If the 49ers acquire Jones, then it makes even more sense to start Trey Lance right away. He will have all the talent in the world surrounding him to ensure his success and reduce as many mistakes as possible. This is the only way a trade for Jones makes sense because the 49ers do not need another wide receiver.

I get that it is Jones, but the guy missed seven games last season and is 32-years old this season. His primetime days are over, and perhaps even his consistent availability. The 49ers entered the draft with a new grading process to avoid and reduce as many injury situations for the future. They do not want to sniff anywhere near the injuries as they did in 2020. Acquiring Jones would contradict their new page in the book of how they view players and their injuries. 

Wide receiver is not a crucial position of need, anyway. That is the one position where Kyle Shanahan can manufacture production. They do not need to sacrifice precious cap space for a declining star. Plus, the chances are that the 49ers will have to enter in a bidding war with another team. Once that happens, a second- or third-round pick for Jones goes out of the window. The Falcons are going to want to squeeze as much out of a team as possible.

This does not behoove the 49ers for this aging star. They're already the second-oldest team in the NFL. That is pretty absurd. The 49ers are a bigger-picture franchise and it is tough to envision a future where Jones is still playing at a high level for the vast majority of a season. 

Trade for Jones if and only if Garoppolo is out of the picture. 

Other than that, he isn't worth the 49ers' time.