Albert Breer of theMMQB touched on the Julio Jones situation in his column on Monday. He explains why he thinks it's unrealistic that the Alanta Falcons would go for a first round pick, but might be willing to move him for a second round pick. Nothing Breer writes points to a specific interest from the Cleveland Browns, but only confirms that the Browns are one of the teams that could pursue him.
"So what would it take for the Falcons to part with Jones? I think they’d probably do it for a second-round pick at this point. That said, I also think there’s some logic to hanging on to him. His contract would be a lot easier trade after this year, and the idea of having Pitts, Jones and Calvin Ridley together, even for just a year, has to be enticing."
Breer also notes something that was previously discussed here, which is the fact the Browns are one of only eight teams that can currently account for the $15.3 million salary Jones would get this season.
"He’s due a fully guaranteed $15.3 million this year, meaning there are just eight teams (Jaguars, Jets, Broncos, Bengals, Lions, Browns, Chargers, Niners) that have the space to deal for him without moving money around."
If Jones is moved, which doesn't seem to be guaranteed, some of the teams that could be interested him might want to wait until after June 2nd to make the trade. The Jones salary will be unimpacted by the timing, but corresponding moves the teams could make might.
There is risk with Jones at his age and with the foot issues he dealt with that limited him last season, but the production is undeniable. Last year, he was still able to produce 85.7 yards per game and even though he was only able to play in nine games in the 2020 season, he still had three games with over 130 receiving yards.
The Browns haven't been mentioned as a potential destination to this point. It's been focused on teams like the San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, and the Baltimore Ravens, even though the Ravens cannot currently afford him and given the contract they signed Sammy Watkins for, including a bewildering $3.75 signing bonus.
If the Browns are interested, they aren't making it publicly known. Going back to free agency last season, the Browns were operating pretty quietly when they signed Jack Conklin and Austin Hooper.
They may ultimately decide this isn't an option they want to pursue, but it is certainly tempting. A second round pick to give the Browns the best offense in the NFL for this season, while also upgrading their defense significantly could make them the favorite to win the Super Bowl.