Julio Jones trade rumors: Are Patriots still in mix for star WR?

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What the latest Julio Jones trade rumors mean for Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It's June 1, which means Julio Jones trade watch has kicked into high gear.

The Atlanta Falcons reportedly are looking to move their star wide receiver to help solve their dire salary cap situation, and trading Jones after June 1 would allow them to spread his cap hit over multiple seasons and save roughly $15 million in cap space.

The New England Patriots are a potential destination for Jones for several reasons: They have the cap room to make a deal work, they need help at the position and they have a quarterback (Cam Newton) who Jones reportedly wants to play with.

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According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, however, the Tennessee Titans are the current favorite to land the seven-time Pro Bowler.

"In league circles, the current expectation is that, eventually, the Falcons will send Jones to the Titans for a second-round pick," Florio wrote Sunday.

ESPN's Dianna Russini reported last week that one team offered a first-round pick for Jones, but NBC Sports' Peter King wrote Monday that a second-rounder seems like a more likely price.

"I was told a while ago by a source I trust that the Falcons would accept a hard second-round pick in 2022 (no condition on Jones’ playing time) with no responsibility to pay Jones any of the $38 million he has coming [on his contract]," King wrote.

The Patriots sent Atlanta a second-round pick for Mohamed Sanu in 2019, so you'd think they'd gladly make the same offer for Jones, who's a far superior wideout even after missing seven games last season due to a hamstring injury.

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To that point, Florio notes New England is still a team to watch in the Jones sweepstakes.

"Don’t rule out the Patriots making a last-second play for Jones," Florio wrote. "Beyond the report that they’ve had 'internal discussions' about Jones, there has been no reporting linking New England to Jones. And that’s usually how it goes with the Patriots. No one knows much of anything until the deal is done."

Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown and his teammates are putting the full-court press on Jones to try to lure him to Tennessee, but they might want to keep the pressure on to avoid the Patriots swooping in.