Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN: NFL teams watching 49ers as Julio Jones demand ramps up, including Seahawks interest

May 30, 2021 at 11:17 AM--

Adding Julio Jones to an already championship-caliber San Francisco 49ers roster could make the Bay Area team a Super Bowl favorite. The word is that the Atlanta Falcons have already received one offer of a future first-round pick for the future Hall of Fame receiver. That probably isn't from the 49ers, unless it was a 2024 first-round pick. That's when San Francisco next owns a first-rounder after trading its own first-round selections over the next two seasons to move up to select quarterback Trey Lance.

There is Jones' Kyle Shanahan connection with the 49ers, and the wideout would undoubtedly like to go to a contender. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports that teams around the league are keeping an eye on San Francisco to see if the team will make an aggressive move to reunite Shanahan with the seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro.

"Asking around (the) league on Julio Jones, teams are watching 49ers closely," wrote Fowler via Twitter, "though uncertain how far they'd go after giving up [ones] for Trey Lance."

As Fowler points out, it's not just the compensation that needs to be considered. An interested team has to account for Jones' $15.3 million base salary. While teams might ask for the Falcons to cover some of that, it is unlikely they would do so by much — if at all. After all, the goal is to shed as much salary as they can. Atlanta has $337,851 of salary-cap space, per OverTheCap.com.

Meanwhile, San Francisco has nearly $17.7 million in cap space but still has three members of its draft class to sign and must put money aside for any potential in-season transactions. Center Weston Richburg is expected to retire after Tuesday, which should free up some money. Chief contract negotiator Paraag Marathe could also create some more room with some of his salary-cap magic, which could include some contract restructures.

Fowler's colleague, Dianna Russini, reports that the Seattle Seahawks have had discussions with the Falcons about Jones and that quarterback Russell Wilson and the receiver have spoken about possibly playing together.

Jones going to a division rival would certainly be problematic for Shanahan and the 49ers, who will have to face the receiver at least twice a season. However, the Seahawks are also without a first-round pick in 2022.

No move will likely officially occur before June 1 to minimize the salary-cap impact for Atlanta.

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