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Matt Calkins: Julio Jones is the latest big name linked to the Seahawks. Would a trade make sense for Seattle?

UPDATED: Fri., June 4, 2021

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones warms up before a December 2020 game against the New Orleans Saints in Atlanta.  (Danny Karnik)
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones warms up before a December 2020 game against the New Orleans Saints in Atlanta. (Danny Karnik)
By Matt Calkins Seattle Times

It seems inevitable, doesn’t it?

A big name wants out of his current situation, and the Seattle Seahawks pop up as a possible destination.

It happened with Duane Brown, who ended up in Seattle. It happened with Jadeveon Clowney, who ended up in Seattle. It happened with Jamal Adams, who ended up in Seattle.

And now, there’s future Hall of Fame receiver Julio Jones, who – who knows? – may just end up here, too.

Could this simply be Russell Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, trying to goad the Seahawks into making a move? Who knows? But given Seattle general manager John Schneider’s history of locking down needle movers, it has to be taken seriously.

Here’s what we know: The Seahawks’ offense – even with record-setters DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett catching passes from eight-time Pro Bowler Wilson – vanished over the final few weeks of last season. And despite Wilson complaining about the number of sacks his offensive line has allowed over the years (something partially attributed to how long he holds the ball) another dynamic playmaker is likely the team’s most pressing need. Sure, the Seahawks drafted the 4.38-40-yard-dash running Dee Eskridge with their top pick to bolster their receiving corps, and they signed ever-consistent tight end Gerald Everett this offseason.

But Julio Jones?! The man that has thrice led the NFL in receiving yards per game? That could theoretically make the Seahawks the most dangerous offensive team in football.

It sounds delectable if you’re a 12. But is it practical?

One can’t help but think back to coach Pete Carroll’s comments at his end-of-the-season news conference in January. Discussing the future of Seattle’s offensive identity, Carroll said, “We have to run the ball better. Not even run the ball better, run it more.”

It came off as a not-so thinly veiled shot at the throw-first philosophy that worked early in the season for the Seahawks but damned them down the road. Wouldn’t adding Jones almost force them to move away from the run-first approach?

Then there is Jones’ age and health. Being 32 might not seem particularly old, but 10 years in the most brutal team sport in the world can cause significant wear and tear. Last season may have proved as much, as Jones missed seven games due to a hamstring injury, and averaged fewer yards per game than any season since 2012.

Then, of course, there is his price: Jones has $38.326 million left in the three years remaining on his contract, including a fully guaranteed $15.3 million next year. Could the Seahawks rework some things to squeeze him under the cap? Yes. Would Jones be willing to do that? Tough to say. Are the Seahawks eventually going to have to pay that money regardless? Absolutely.

Also, to get Jones the Seahawks would likely have to part ways with a second-round pick (they don’t have a first-rounder to give) which would further mortgage their future. Would they think that’s worth it?

These are all serious questions. But then again …

It’s not like Jones is coming off an ACL or Achilles’ tendon tear. It was a hammy. Doesn’t mean that can’t be bothersome next season, but it is a recoverable injury that explains his subpar (by his standards) stats last year.

And the Seahawks are in “win now” mode – maybe more so than they’ve ever been under Carroll. The draft capital they gave up for Adams last year confirmed as much.

If they’re thinking about the next couple years and little beyond that, might as well go all in. And given such commitment, maybe Jones is willing to be flexible with his contract. The man is going to retire having made over $100 million. Assuming he has been halfway responsible, money isn’t an issue for him. Not having a Super Bowl ring is, though.

As for the run-first philosophy? I’d like to think Carroll is smart enough to know how to cater to his talent. And the fact that Seattle used its first pick on a receiver last draft shows it still thinks it needs a playmaking pass-catcher. The Seahawks can still protect the ball and rush often. But with defenses needing to respect Metcalf, Lockett and Jones, those rushes might be a lot more productive.

Having said all that, we probably won’t see a move for several months. The Falcons will weigh their options and examine every possible offer before making a move – assuming they make one.

Still, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise if Jones ends up with the Seahawks. They tend to land a whale every offseason. And though Jones may not make perfect sense for this Seahawks team, he makes enough sense to go for it.

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