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Falcons listen to trade offers for All-Pro WR Julio Jones

Several NFL teams have called the Atlanta Falcons to inquire about a potential trade for star wide receiver Julio Jones. File Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI
Several NFL teams have called the Atlanta Falcons to inquire about a potential trade for star wide receiver Julio Jones. File Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | License Photo

April 26 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Falcons are receiving trade offers for All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones, just days before the 2021 NFL Draft.

Sources told NFL Network and Sports Illustrated on Monday about inquiries recently received by the Falcons for the 32-year-old playmaker. Jones is due a $15.3 million salary in 2021 and $11.5 million for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

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He totaled 51 catches for 771 yards and three scores in nine games last season, while limited by a hamstring injury. The seven-time Pro Bowl selection led the league with 1,677 receiving yards in 2018. He missed just four games from 2014 through 2019.

The news of the Falcons' willingness to listen to trade calls comes four months after franchise owner Arthur Blank told reporters that he wouldn't get in the way if his front office wanted to part ways with Jones, quarterback Matt Ryan or other star players.

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"What I think is important, most important, is that we hire people who are, number one, the very best at their jobs," Blank said at a Jan. 5 news conference. "That goes without saying. Who will come forward with a plan for us to have a championship team, a competitive team, etc.?

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"And that may include Matt and Julio for now, for the next two years, three years, or may not. I have no idea."

Blank hired new general manager Terry Fontenot on Jan. 19. Fontenot was asked if the team would trade Jones or Ryan during a podcast appearance for NFL Network on Feb. 16, but declined to give a definitive answer.

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"We want to be a culture of competition," Fontenot said. "We want to bring in smart, tough, highly competitive football players that will fit this culture, and we are going to do that at every position, whether it's quarterback or wide receiver.

"We aren't going to be afraid to add to strengths, but both of those players [Jones and Ryan] are really good and I'm excited to be here with those players."

The Falcons have the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The first round starts at 8 p.m. EDT Thursday in Cleveland and airs on ESPN, ABC and NFL Network.

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