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3 reasons the 49ers could land Julio Jones

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones escapes Denver
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones escapes Denver's Davontae Harris on Nov. 8, 2020
Kyle Heim
ANALYST
Modified 28 Apr 2021
Rumors

It's difficult to get a read on the San Francisco 49ers' intentions after head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Monday he can't guarantee if anybody in the world will be alive on Sunday.

One move that would make sense for San Francisco, though, is to pursue Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Monday that the Falcons have been getting calls inquiring about the 32-year-old All-Pro wideout.

Jones has 12,896 receiving yards and 60 touchdowns spanning 10 seasons in the NFL, and there are three reasons why he would be a good fit with the 49ers.

The 49ers are missing a clear-cut No. 3 WR

San Francisco already has two young and talented wide receivers in 25-year-old Deebo Samuel and 23-year-old Brandon Aiyuk. Those two will be starters in 2021, but the team lost its No. 3 wideout, Kendrick Bourne, in the offseason to the New England Patriots.

Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne reacts after a catch against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 29, 2020
Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne reacts after a catch against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 29, 2020

Bourne caught 49 passes for 667 yards and two touchdowns while playing in 15 games and starting five.

Jones would more than make up for the loss of Bourne after recording 771 yards and three touchdowns on 51 receptions while only playing in nine games because of a hamstring injury. It was the first time since 2013 that Jones had failed to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark.

The seasoned veteran would provide much-needed depth at a position of concern for the 49ers.

Jones offers a decade of experience

Julio Jones has complied 134 starts during his 10-year playing career compared to 27 combined starts between starters Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiuyuk.

Samuel collected 57 receptions for 802 yards as a rookie in 2019 while starting in 11 games. He only made five starts last season due to foot and hamstring injuries but still managed to haul in 33 passes for 391 yards in limited action.

Deebo Samuel runs with the ball against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 29, 2020.
Deebo Samuel runs with the ball against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 29, 2020.

Aiuyuk, meanwhile, caught 60 passes for 748 yards and five touchdowns in 11 starts as a rookie in 2020.

Both up-and-comers would benefit on the field from Jones' veteran leadership.

The 49ers could free up enough cap space

It's no secret that the 49ers are eyeing a quarterback with the third pick in the NFL Draft, most likely Alabama's Mac Jones or North Dakota State's Trey Lance.

If the 49ers select a quarterback at No. 3, they could then free up enough cap space to cover Jones' $15.3 million salary for 2021 by trading or releasing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Published 28 Apr 2021
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