Julio Jones mania overtook the NFL world about two weeks ago, when Fox Sports 1’s Shannon Sharpe dialed the five-time All-Pro live on “Undisputed.” Jones, apparently not knowing he was on air at the time, sharply told Sharpe that he was “out of there” in reference to the Atlanta Falcons.
It would be safe to assume that members of the 31 other fan bases instantly became interested in where Jones would land, with the hope that it would be with their team. Jones ultimately went to the Tennesee Titans in exchange for draft compensation.
Getting a lot of Q’s from Chiefs fans re Julio.— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) June 6, 2021
KC was truly never in the Julio sweepstakes. It’s nothing against his talent or their belief that he’s still a top WR; the financials just never made sense. Cash comes into play.
In order for the deal to happen, the Titans took on Jones’ full $15.3 million salary and cap hit for 2021 — the primary reason he became available. As our John Dixon noted, the Falcons had a free salary-cap figure of somewhere close to $1.3 million available, and freeing up space was critical to the move.
Jones’ salary was a number the Chiefs could simply not afford this offseason, when the coronavirus pandemic impacted their space. There is also a thought that the Chiefs’ primary focus of the moment is a potential extension for star safety Tyrann Mathieu.
Per the NFLPA, the #Chiefs salary cap space stands at $8,414,974 .— Nick Jacobs (@Jacobs71) June 1, 2021
With the departure of Sammy Watkins to the Baltimore Ravens in free agency, there is a need at receiver, but the Chiefs are instead relying on much more affordable, in-house options. The most likely candidates are the returners — Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle — or rookie Cornell Powell, their fifth-round draft pick.
In comparison to Jones’ $15.1 million, those four options account for about $5.2 million combined against the cap, according to Spotrac. The Chiefs also have another nine lottery tickets — including Antonio Callaway and Marcus Kemp — at the position.
So no Jones in Kansas City. But the Chiefs have prospects, and they hope the former NFL MVP in Patrick Mahomes can bring out the best in them.