The dreams of Julio Jones ending up with the Green Bay Packers were quickly replaced with the reality that it wouldn’t happen for an array of reasons.
Once news trickled out that Jones wanted out of Atlanta, it was hard not to wonder what it would take for the Packers to land him. But after recognizing Green Bay’s cap situation would make it almost impossible to acquire Jones, most people realized that it was unlikely to come to fruition.
The Atlanta Falcons traded Jones to the Tennessee Titans for a 2022 third-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick. Although compensation seems fair, it’s worth the reminder that Jones’s entire $15.3 million base salary for 2021 is fully guaranteed. But after the dust cleared and the Falcons found a trade partner, it’s become clear the Packers were winners as well in the Jones ordeal.
Packers fans have longed for the front office to add another stud receiver to go along with Davante Adams, and it hasn’t come to fruition yet. However, Green Bay has some in-house items to attend to that still need clarification. On the surface, adding Jones would satisfy many who have complained about the WR2 spot for a couple of years now. But the consequences need to be weighed as well.
Nobody, not even Mark Murphy and Brian Gutekunst, knows how the Aaron Rodgers fiasco will conclude.
Can you imagine how much it would’ve backfired for the Packers to jump through all the financial hoops to land Julio, only for Rodgers to continue to hold out for a trade?
The ultimate disaster would be to pair Jones with Adams, and the league MVP still passes on returning to Wisconsin. That alone is grounds for Green Bay validating a stance to bow out of the Jones sweepstakes.
Another positive for the Packers? Jones ended up in the AFC even though the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams were rumored to be pushing to land the All-Pro.
Last year, the Seahawks and Rams both made the postseason, and the Rams held their own early against Green Bay in the divisional round at Lambeau Field before the game ultimately got away from them. And can you imagine Julio Jones teaming up with Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, and Russell Wilson? Even if Rodgers comes back, that would’ve catapulted Seattle’s offense right near Green Bay’s, if not ahead of them from a pure weapons standpoint.
As for Los Angeles? Well, they already upgraded from Jared Goff to Matthew Stafford at quarterback. Peppering in Jones to a Sean McVay offense would’ve been terrifying for all NFC teams. That Jones not only got sent out of the NFC, but he didn’t land with any legitimate threats the Packers could see in the NFC this year is a win alone for Green Bay.
Still, it would’ve been incredible if Jones ended up in Wisconsin. Imagining Rodgers and the front office putting their differences aside and rolling out a squad next year that included Rodgers, Aaron Jones, Adams, rookie Amari Rodgers, Robert Tonyan, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and then Julio. Of course, all Packers fans would take a double-dose of that. But it just wasn’t feasible.
Keep this in mind. The Packers restructured David Bakhtiari‘s contract this offseason. They did the same with Za’Darius Smith and Adrian Amos. Preston Smith took a cut. Kevin King was brought back for pennies on the dollar. All of that and Green Bay still didn’t have near enough to bring on a contract the size of Jones’. So it was never going to happen.
That doesn’t mean Green Bay failed, and it doesn’t mean the front office should be criticized for this. On the contrary, it could end up being a blessing in disguise.
And for those who want to put the fingers to the keyboard and yell every word under the sun in the direction of Murphy and Gutekunst for not getting a deal done, imagine once again if Rodgers never lets go of his grudge. Green Bay would’ve been on the hook to pay a 32-year old wide receiver a mammoth amount of money for years to come with someone other than Rodgers under center.
There’s a lot to question about what the front office has done recently, and it starts with how this Rodgers situation has gotten to the stage that it’s presently at. Those questions are justifiable and warranted, in large part. But in the case of Julio, sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make.