Should Dolphins Make a Play for Julio Jones?

The Miami Dolphins could use a wide receiver like Julio Jones, but the question is whether pursuing a trade for him would make sense
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Three days before the start of the 2021 NFL draft, perhaps the biggest news on this Monday was talk that the Atlanta Falcons could be ready to trade seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones.

The speculation was widespread Monday, with reports from Peter King of NBC Sports, Sports Illustrated Senior NFL Reporter Albert Breer, and NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport.

Before we get to how the Dolphins figure into all of this, let's just set up the Jones situation as it relates to the Falcons.

The most logical reason the Falcons would even consider trading someone with Jones' resume at 32 years old is a nightmarish salary-cap situation, which isn't helped by the contract they gave Jones in September 2019. The extension was for three years and $66 million, with all but $2 million guaranteed, per overthecap.com.

That's a pretty heft contract for any team to take on, but Jones immediately makes any offense better.

Yes, he missed seven games last season because of hamstring issues, but he had missed only four games the previous six years combined. So it might be a stretch to suggest he's breaking down.

What's also undeniable is that acquiring Jones will represent a significant financial commitment, and that's where it gets tricky.

And then there's the issue of compensation, with King suggesting a second-round pick was fair and Breer throwing out the idea of a first-round pick as compensation after writing the Falcons already have been listening to offers.

Because of the cap implications for the Falcons, any trade involving Jones likely would be consummated after June 1 and involve future draft picks, not anything from the 2021 draft, as pointed out by King, Breer and Rapoport.

Now, why would the Dolphins even think of making that kind of financial commitment to land Jones?

Well, isn't this offseason supposed to be all about getting some playmakers for Tua Tagovailoa? Would anybody argue for a second that Jones is not a big-time playmaker?

Of course, taking on Jones' contract would mean cap room would need to be created, and the Dolphins did add Will Fuller V in free agency. But Jones at his peak is a top five wide receiver in the NFL, if not top three.

Heading into the draft, there's been a lot of speculation that the Dolphins will look to add a blue-chip wide receiver, whether it be Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith.

If we're talking blue-chip wide receivers, Jones definitely fits the definition.

But, like anything else, the price would have to be right for the Dolphins to consider making this move.

That's an awfully big if.