The New Orleans Saints aren’t eliminated from potentially acquiring Julio Jones in a trade despite being in the same division as the Falcons. According to ESPN, however, the biggest reason why the Saints shouldn’t pursue a trade for Jones is their cap situation.
Mike Triplett was quoted as saying:
"You can’t rule out the Saints completely, since they have a need at WR and are never shy about pursuing star players despite salary-cap restraints. But they are even more slammed up against the cap than usual this year, and it’s hard to imagine Atlanta dealing Jones to its most-heated rival."
The division rivalry was previously the reason most Saints fans assumed they had no shot in hell at landing Jones but that changed with a report from an NFL executive who said not to rule out the black and gold. This was groundbreaking considering how uncommon it is to trade within a division, especially big-name players.
After that report came out, I wrote an article about how fun it’d be to have Jones in an offense with Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. He’d give Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill plenty of weapons to work with and that’s exactly what this team needs moving forward.
That being said, landing Jones wouldn’t come cheap and that’s what Triplett was getting at in his comments.
The Saints probably can’t afford what it would take to land Julio Jones.
The only real benefit for Atlanta when it comes to potentially trading Jones to their most hated division rival is robbing them of significant assets. If they can land a few early-round picks as well as another key player or two and instead ship off a 32-year-old wide receiver who has an 83% chance of getting injured (per Sports Injury Predictor), that might be worth it to them.
With the Saints no longer having Drew Brees as their quarterback and spending a lot of valuable assets to try and get him a second Super Bowl, they’re in a tough spot now. As cool as it’d be to have Jones on their roster, they could use the money it’d take to pay his expensive contract for other more pressing needs (extending Ryan Ramczyk being one of those).
Julio Jones could be a huge game-changer in the Saints offense this year considering their need for a WR2, but would this be the smartest decision for this franchise moving forward?
The answer is no.