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Why a Julio Jones Trade is Unlikely for the Colts

NFL: Player Headshots 2021 Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Money talks.

According to the NFLPA public report, the Colts currently have around 13.5M remaining in cap space. This report is updated daily, so this includes the Eric Fisher signing (whose contract details are still not public to my knowledge) and the rookie class signings.

Julio Jones has said he wants out of Atlanta, which has led to a lot of speculation about where he’ll end up and the Colts are one team oddsmakers and fans are speculating he can end up in. The reality is, it’s very unlikely that he ends up in Indy and for two reasons: salary cap and draft capital.

If traded after June 1st, Jones’ cap hit for the team who trades for him would be 15.3M. That 15.3M is more than the Colts have in salary cap space right now. The only way the Colts can get cap space now would be to restructure the deal of DeForest Buckner, Ryan Kelly or Carson Wentz and that’s just unnecessarily risky. If the Colts haven’t touched their contracts by now, they won’t be rushing to do it in the coming weeks.

The other issue is draft capital. The Colts essentially can’t trade their 1st or 2nd round pick next year because both are tied up with the Carson Wentz trade and one of those picks will be going to Philadelphia at the end of the season. That leaves a 3rd or 4th round pick in play and the 2023 draft class. Considering injury history and Ballard’s general reluctance to move picks, I doubt he wants to cough up some capital for a 32 year old with durability issues.

That then leads to the last point of Julio’s age; he’s old and he’s been beaten up over the years. You’re getting 60% of what he used to be. He missed nearly half of last season and frequently plays injured as he’s on the injury report most weeks. It would be tough for the Colts to part ways with an early pick for someone who presents that much risk.

The salary cap situation almost completely rules out Julio (unless major moves are made to free up space), and if it didn’t, you can bet on Chris Ballard not giving up major picks for a star past his prime.

If you were thinking about placing a few bucks on Julio between +800 and +1400, save it because it ain’t happening.