Gallant: Why a Seahawks trade for Julio Jones would be a mistake
It looks incredible on paper and sounds even better when you say it aloud. DK Metcalf. Tyler Lockett. Julio Jones. All with the Seahawks.
That Death Star of a wide receiver corps would immediately look like one of the greatest pass-catching trios in NFL history.
But it would be a mistake for the Seahawks to trade another early draft pick for Jones, the Falcons’ All-Pro wide receiver.
Before I explain why, I’m not sure I buy the Seahawks’ reported interest in Jones. Atlanta’s been desperately throwing chum in the water for months hoping a team will take Jones’ salary off their books. The Falcons are hoping any story about Julio interest will lead to a first-round-sized bite from some desperate team. And while Russell Wilson may have
tampered talked with Jones about the possibility of playing together, he did the same thing with Antonio Brown. Guess who never signed with Seattle?
On top of that, I’m skeptical that Seahawks general manager John Schneider would want this information made public.
But Schneider’s never been afraid of trading draft picks for veterans. Take just the last few seasons:
• 2021: Seahawks traded a fifth-round pick for guard Gabe Jackson
• 2020: Traded a seventh-rounder and guard B.J. Finney for DE Carlos Dunlap
• 2020: Traded two firsts and a third in a deal for safety Jamal Adams
• 2020: Traded a fifth-round pick for cornerback Quinton Dunbar
• 2019: Traded a fifth-round pick for safety Quandre Diggs
• 2019: Traded a third-round pick for DE Jadeveon Clowney
Schneider is aggressive. So while it may be unlikely, a Julio Jones trade isn’t impossible. I just don’t want it to happen.
If you’re of the belief that the Seahawks should give Russell Wilson whatever he wants, you’re probably not going to read another sentence. Maybe “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” would be a better read. But if you have even a sliver of doubt, bear with me.
First off, how much better would the Seahawks get – as a whole – by adding Jones to the roster? Yeah, it would be an upgrade. How many defenses could hang with that trio of Metcalf, Lockett and Jones? But would sacrificing more draft capital and cap space be worth improving your wide receiver group from an A to an A+? Especially with more serious needs on the defensive side of the ball, specifically at cornerback? If you’re going to trade for a superstar, Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore is the guy. Not Jones.
The Seahawks, who just drafted another wide receiver in the second round of the NFL Draft, have already invested heavily at the position. Lockett’s extension and an eventual Metcalf megadeal will make up a huge portion of their future budget. Adding Jones, who would likely want one final extension that would see him paid as one of the league’s top wide receivers again, would make the position group ridiculously expensive. And it may take resources away from another looming big ticket item: a Jamal Adams contract.
I also wonder if Jones would be a fit for what the Seahawks have publicly prioritized: running the football more effectively. I have no doubts that Jones would make Seattle a scoring machine in the first half of 2021. It’s already been the last two years. But would it last all season? Especially with Russell Wilson’s late season dips the past two?
The Pete Carroll Seahawks need to be able to run the ball in December. Just look at 2019 when all their running backs were hurt going into the playoffs. Or last year, where they forgot how to be balanced. Trading for Jones may upgrade their passing attack, but it’s not on brand with what Carroll wants to do. I know that’s frustrating for a lot of you “Let Russ Cook” folks. But what’s good for Russell Wilson isn’t necessarily consistent with what’s good for Seattle.
If history has taught us anything, it’s that blockbuster wide receiver trades don’t have a high success rate. Seattle knows this better than anyone, having dealt Joey Galloway to Dallas for two first-round picks (one of whom became Shaun Alexander), and getting little after trading firsts for Deion Branch and Percy Harvin.
There have been success stories. Look at Stefon Diggs in Buffalo and DeAndre Hopkins in Arizona this past season. Or go further back to when Terrell Owens was shipped to Philadelphia. But those success stories have a commonality: all three of those wide receivers were immediately the No. 1 wide receiver on their new team. Jones wouldn’t necessarily be that in Seattle right away, and that could lend itself to an awkward “we’re not sure why it’s not working” situation like the Browns currently have with Odell Beckham Jr.
My biggest concern over a potential Julio Jones trade? It’s the hamstring injury that cost him nine games last season. How many wide receivers – like the late Terry Glenn, DeSean Jackson, and Will Fuller off the top of my head – have we seen deal with recurring hammy injuries for the entirety of their career? Jones is 32 years old and heading into his 11th season. It would be surprising if it didn’t nag him again.
I get why the Seahawks – or anyone reading – would want to see this trade through. It looks like something that’s only possible in Madden or fantasy football. But given what it could cost – a first-round pick and a ton of cap space – and my many concerns above, it would be a mistake to pull the trigger.