The Seahawks entered the draft with one of the NFL’s best wide receiver tandems, and they added to their Tyler Lockett–D.K. Metcalf crew by taking D’Wayne Eskridge in the second round. But Seattle surfaced as a Julio Jones suitor last week, joining a few other teams. That pursuit appears to be thinning, however.
Due to a few factors, the Seahawks do not appear to be a top-tier Jones suitor. Their discussions of a potential trade for the All-Pro wideout stemmed more from due diligence than serious interest, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes. The past several days have seen this race dwindle to the point it may be a one-on-one showdown — between the 49ers and Titans — though there is always the possibility a stealth team looms.
In addition to having already traded their 2022 first-round pick (in the Jamal Adams swap), the Seahawks are toward the bottom in cap space — at just more than $7MM. For the team to trade for Jones, it would likely need the Falcons to pick up part of his $15.3MM salary, Henderson tweets. Thus far, however, the Falcons have not shown a desire to do so. They remain on the hunt for a first-round pick, though a second-rounder may now be acceptable. While the Seahawks have not been shy about including high picks in trades under their Pete Carroll–John Schneider regime — as the deals for Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham and Adams have shown — money complicates this situation.
Restructuring Russell Wilson or Bobby Wagner‘s contract would free up cap space for the Seahawks, but the team does not appear eager to go that route. Jones has more than $38MM remaining on his through-2023 contract, but the 32-year-old superstar may well want yet another new deal after being dealt. The Falcons gave its seven-time Pro Bowl pass catcher a wideout-record three-year, $66MM pact in 2019. Atlanta’s new regime views that contract as one that can be moved to help the team’s cap situation.
Both the Rams and Ravens have stepped back on Jones, and it does not sound like the Patriots are eager to part with a key trade chip for the 10-year veteran. Like the Seahawks, each team made big moves at receiver this offseason. In addition to using their top 2021 pick on Eskridge, the Seahawks gave Lockett a four-year, $69MM extension. Jones could work alongside Metcalf and Lockett, with the latter playing in the slot, while Eskridge develops. But at this point, it looks like the Seahawks will sit out the Jones sweepstakes.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.