Falcons HC Arthur Smith Talks About Julio Jones as Mandatory Minicamp Draws Closer

Published 06/02/2021, 1:09 PM EDT
ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 22: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons looks on during the first half of a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)


As the 2021 NFL season approaches closer, teams are gearing up to return to training. The Atlanta Falcons though have some headaches they need to sort out first. The one which is of paramount importance is undoubtedly the situation involving Julio Jones. 

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The seven-time Pro Bowler has publicly stated that he wants to leave the franchise. With mandatory minicamp approaching though, Jones still remains a Falcons player.  

The side had started off preparations for next season with OTAs and rookie minicamps. While Jones was not expected to be in attendance for either, his absence in the upcoming minicamp could spell trouble.  

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The Falcons management has stated that they are willing to listen to offers for Julio Jones. But so far nothing concrete has materialized. 

New Head Coach Arthur Smith too is caught in an uncomfortable situation. With his side’s star wideout no longer interested in being part of the new project, he’s been having to face some difficult questions over the last few weeks. 

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Talking to NFL reporter Michael Giardi, Smith was asked whether or not Jones would turn up for mandatory training camp next week. Smith though didn’t provide an answer that would evoke much confidence in Falcons fans.  

“We have conversations with all our players,” Smith said. “We’ll see where we’re at next week.”

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Plenty of teams have been circling over Jones for a possible trade. Reports suggest that the Seattle Seahawks, LA Rams, Tennessee Titans and the Philadelphia Eagles are just some of the teams interested in making a move for the two-time All-Pro wideout.  

Taking over as a new head coach is not child’s play. And your team’s star player wanting out doesn’t make things any easier. Smith has been bombarded with questions regarding Jones whenever he steps up to talk to the media. 

Julio Jones warms up prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

The former Titans assistant coach was asked whether or not it was frustrating for him to continue entertaining questions about Jones. “No. It is part of the job,” Smith said.

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Jones, 32, will come at a price. While the Falcons expect at least a first-round pick in return for the perennial Pro Bowler, his salary for 2021 could also prove to be a stumbling block for certain teams. 

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Jones is guaranteed to receive $15.3 million in salary money for the upcoming season. That’s a big dent for sides that will have to comply with the curtailed cap space for 2021. But for a player of Jones’ caliber, it most certainly might end up being a worthwhile investment. 

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Shivayan Roy

715 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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