Move up could cost the Falcons $38.5 million

Kevin Winston, the Falcons' senior director of player development, welcomes Julio Jones to the team's facilities today in Flowery Branch. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

Kevin Winston, the Falcons' senior director of player development, welcomes Julio Jones to the team's facilities today in Flowery Branch. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

BIRDLAND –  Not only did the Falcons make a bold and aggressive move in terms of draft picks.

They will feel the trade up 21 spots to get Julio Jones in the wallet.

The difference between what the 27th  and 6th picks were paid last season was a whopping $38.5 million.

Seattle took Oklahoma State tackle Russell Okung with the sixth pick last year. He signed a six-year contract that was worth $48.5 million. A total of $30 million of the deal was guaranteed.

New England chose Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty and signed him to a five-year, $10 million contract. A total of $7.825 million was guaranteed.

If the teams operate under the 2010 rules for this draft, Jones’ contract would be in the Okung range.

Now, if there is a new collective bargaining agreement in place soon with a rookie-wage scale, Jones’ contract could be significantly less.

Here are some excerpts from general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s chat with the media late last night:

NFL Network's Bucky Brooks and Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff at the NFL scouting combine. TD has the Falcons board practially set. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

NFL Network's Bucky Brooks and Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff at the NFL scouting combine. TD has the Falcons board practially set. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

OPENING STATEMENT:

TD: “First of all, we’re very pleased with our move. It was an aggressive bold move to get up from 27 to six, 21 spots. We knew that it was going to be an aggressive move and cost us and as an organization, we felt very strongly about the move up for a player that we believe truly adds the explosive, urgent athleticism that we were looking to improve on this team. We feel like Julio is a fine addition to our offense and will continue to help provide Matt [Ryan] with the tools that we need going forward as an offense and as a team.”

ON THE TRADE: “We’ve been talking about this over the last month. Mike and I have spent a lot of time analyzing the players throughout the draft, not only in the first round but throughout the draft. That’s obviously one of the things that played into us being aggressive, knowing that it was going to cost us in this year’s draft and in next year’s draft. Again, something that we were very comfortable with as an organization. We are very fortunate to have an owner in Arthur Blank who is generous. There aren’t that many owners who would be in favor of moving up as far as we did. Financially, it’s a bold move as well and we appreciate that from Arthur Blank. Again, we feel like Julio is going to be a fine addition to our offense and he is going to be worth the move that we made up to get him at six.”

ON THE COMPENSATION: “We obviously exchanged ones and then we gave up our second round and fourth round picks and then a future one and a future four as well. We all work from a certain chart and as you work from these charts from team to team, it was a draw. We both feel very comfortable. Both teams, Cleveland and us, felt very comfortable with what the compensation would be.”

ON HOW TOUGH IT WAS TO MAKE A DEAL WITHOUT INCLUDING PLAYERS AS COMPENSATION: “That’s been the most innovating side of this because you are obviously trying to come up with compensation that you feel is fair. That said, you aren’t able to talk and discuss trading players because it was all about draft picks in this year’s draft which was obviously different from other seasons. You really had to drill down and be focused on how you were

Wonder if Roddy White did a flip over the selection of Julio Jones.

Wonder if Roddy White did a flip over the selection of Julio Jones.

going to put together a compensation package. I think that it took a lot more conversation than it would have if you would have had players to discuss.”

ON A PERCEIVED DEVIATION FROM HIS DRAFT-FIRST PHILOSOPHY: “Not at all. It’s funny because I expected that question, especially from the Boston side of the building. Our feeling on this, again, is that where we are in the draft, where we were with our team and where we are with our roster, we’re still very young. We have a lot of guys that we have drafted over the last few years in the middle rounds who are still coming into their own and still developing. We felt like we needed to make a bold statement and add an impact type of player, while possibly giving up some picks in the middle rounds. We feel that we have a lot of players that satisfy our needs as backups and strong depth players so we wanted to go after a guy who we felt could be a serious impact type of player.”

WHY OFFENSE OVER DEFENSE: “I think going into this draft, we felt very strongly about and I’ve been very open about our need for explosiveness on the defensive side or on the offensive side. In our mind, the explosiveness that we were going to get with a player like Julio outweighed what we were going to get from a defensive player in the first round, hence the very aggressive move. We will never get away from the idea that we truly believe that if we see something that we want in terms of team builders we’re going to be aggressive and go after them. We felt that Julio, in light of what we need for this team to be aggressive, explosive and playmaking that he was the guy who fit the bill in the first round.”

ON RODDY WHITE’S ANTICIPATE REACTION: “We really felt that Roddy is such an accomplished football player and a through and through Pro Bowl football player. Our feelings were that he would take it as another step

Julio Jones, WR, Alabama: A three-year-starter at Alabama, Jones holds the single-season record for yards (1,133) and receptions (78). He finished second in career (2,653) yards and receptions (179). Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com

Julio Jones, WR, Alabama: A three-year-starter at Alabama, Jones holds the single-season record for yards (1,133) and receptions (78). He finished second in career (2,653) yards and receptions (179). Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com

towards helping his offense and our offense be better and more prolific. That was our approach to this. I really believe that Roddy wants to be successful and I feel as if this move with Julio will benefit Roddy a great deal as well.”

ON JONE’S INJURY HISTORY AND HISTORY OF DROPPED PASSES: “The injury, we’re definitely comfortable with that. Without getting into specifics, he’s healing up well from his foot injury. He obviously has played through injuries. He’s only missed one game in his career. He is a tough, very resilient guy and looking into his injury background, they weren’t injuries that were of concern to us. I believe that in this league, there are going to be drops. There are going to be drops at every level, if you’re picked one overall or number 21 overall. A lot of the receivers who are competitive receivers in my mind who are turning up field and trying to make plays who are thinking about the next step are going to have drops. Some of the best players in the League obviously have those drops. He has 10-inch hands. He’s got very big hands. He’s got excellent hands. He can snatch the ball all around his body. We’ve seen it, we’re very comfortable with that and he’ll continue to work on his concentration and his getting up field and making sure that he secures the ball just like any of our receivers do. That was not a concern of ours.”

ON COMPARING JONES TO A.J. GREEN: “I think both of those players are obviously very talented. They are players that can come into a team in the NFL and contribute very effectively right away. They are different in a sense. They are both very fast and very competitive. One’s a little bit bigger in being 6’2.5’’ and 220 versus A.J. who was about an inch taller but about 205 or 210. It’s a little bit of a different physical makeup and we were comfortable coming away in the early part of that round with either of the two players.”

ON WHEN THEY DECIDED THEY NEEDED AN OFFENSIVE PLAYMAKER: “I believe that we have said from 2008 when we drafted Matt third overall that we were going to continue to provide as much firepower for him and for this offense as we could within reason, obviously. We feel that this is within reason. It’s about continuing to emphasize how important it is for us to be a very explosive and productive offense. We obviously went after Matt third overall and we expected big things out of him. We continue to expect big things out of this offense. As I mentioned earlier, we weighed both sides on offense and defense and we felt that the explosiveness that we would get out of Julio would outweigh what we could get out of the defensive side of the ball at this point of the draft.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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90 comments Add your comment

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

April 29th, 2011
12:24 pm

bad move IMO, could’ve gotten a WR in later rounds…now we lose our #1 pick next year

Jay Dubu

April 29th, 2011
12:27 pm

The defense needs a lot of help. Green Bay went through it in the playoffs like it was a High Scool team.

truth

April 29th, 2011
12:32 pm

maybe the Falcons thinking is that the Defense needs 3+ new starters. I doubt they would have found any defensive starters in this draft

With one great starter on Offense we can OUTSCORE opponents

Marcus

April 29th, 2011
12:35 pm

Brandon

April 29th, 2011
12:36 pm

I like the move. The offense is going to be pretty impressive now. That #1 pick next year will be a late round pick anyway. Hopefully other picks in this draft will be used for defense but Dimitroff knows what he is doing.

Me and Julio down in d school yard!

April 29th, 2011
12:36 pm

My buddy Hook called this move two weeks ago and I never thought it possible. Kudos Mr Dimitrov. In a draft with very few explosive difference makers, Atlanta got the one that best fit the schemme and helps the most! This guy is a MONSTER BLOCKER! And not bad on the streak either. He has the size to outmuscle defenders and come down with the ball! Welcome to Atlanta Julio! He and Roddy on the outside will also make our TE the most dangerous weapon in the league! No more brakets in the middle!

Bill

April 29th, 2011
12:37 pm

First, your comparing a 6yr contract to a 5yr contract—-Look at the difference from an ANNUAL SALARY COMPARISON—$8mil/yr to $2 mil/yr. They spend an extra $6 million a year starting this year for the difference in picks. But what about the $$$ saved from not having to pay next years #1 pick (since they traded it away) along with all the other $$$ they save from the other picks they traded away. That eats into the 6mil/yr moving forward.So essentially its not going to “cost” the Falcons $38 million.

Poor Execution of a “SHOCK” title for your article.

Jesus

April 29th, 2011
12:38 pm

Great pick hes is going to rape other teams.

Mohammed Suman

April 29th, 2011
12:40 pm

Great move. I beleive their analysis. Can’t wait till the season starts!!

The Real Falcon

April 29th, 2011
12:40 pm

Bad move. Gave up way too much.
Even if we had to give up a 1st next year why a second this year?
5 picks to move up 21 spots? I hope we got kissed!

Jesse

April 29th, 2011
12:42 pm

Blank will overpay for a DE. So don’t worry about it.

stinger

April 29th, 2011
12:45 pm

bad move…looks desperate..still got Matty Melt throwing to him. Looks like the kinda move that a team that got humiliated in last years playoff game would make…oh yeah..that’s right

GT Alum

April 29th, 2011
12:45 pm

I find it funny how many people criticize many of the draft picks the Falcons have made under TD, yet they’re whining about trading away the number of draft picks we did to get Jones.

richie

April 29th, 2011
12:46 pm

TD knows what we need to win and Blank has the money to get us the defensive players we need to excel. look for the birds to draft smart in the later rounds and find some real diamonds in the rough!

schmeckdawg

April 29th, 2011
12:49 pm

Hell, if you are going to give up that much, why didn’ they go after AJ? Think what that could have done for ticket sales!

schmeckdawg

April 29th, 2011
12:49 pm

Sorry meant didn’t!

Poppa Falcon

April 29th, 2011
12:50 pm

EXACTLY, GT. Falcons STILL have 6 picks in THIS draft, plus rumored to go after Ray Edwards whenever free agency opens up. Lots of cap space as well. What’s the USE in STOCK PILING draft picks if u don’t use ‘em? Aggressive, BOLD move my DIMITROFF & he’s ONLY just begun.

Falcon since 66

April 29th, 2011
12:54 pm

Hard to believe we gave up that much. Know that is what TD and Smitty do for living but…. Certainly took the excitment out of last night and most of tonight’s draft. Better pan out.

jhughes

April 29th, 2011
12:54 pm

our defense was fine against new orleans late in the year and it did the job the 1st time against green bay… Julio will be great! Great move!

Coach Cheesedip

April 29th, 2011
12:55 pm

Smartest move in Falcon history! Way to go!

k-$

April 29th, 2011
12:57 pm

The first rounder we gave up next year would have been a 20-32 pick anyway. Now you have a weapon to strech the field. Sign a DE in free agency. Jerry and weatherspoon will be improved. Great move. Adding a deep threat will do wonders for this offense that finished near the bottom of the NFL in deep passing plays. Teams were able to take that away bc Roddy was the only threat. Defense and offense will be improved on a 13-3 team. Dimitroff has given no reason to question his decision making. This time next year this move will make him look like a genious…. again.

Falcon Fan For Life

April 29th, 2011
1:00 pm

I think this means the falcons will be more aggressive in free agency whenever that occurs. Think about it they only have to pay this 1st rounder and their third rounder the rest of their money can go to resigning guys are getting new guys.

Falcon since 66

April 29th, 2011
1:00 pm

They must be looking toward UGA’s,and Carolina’s Charles Johnson in free agency, would be fix for pass rush and make better sense than options that were avaiable had we stayed at 27

Falcon Fan For Life

April 29th, 2011
1:01 pm

or getting new guys is what i meant sorry on not proof reading

Wayne

April 29th, 2011
1:10 pm

LOOK, Everyone thinks Patrick Peterson is the last coke or something. He is a great player and he also got burned by Julio 2 years in a row. Julio is the most Physical Receiver you will ever see and he never takes a play off. He will block 30 yds down the field and makes other teams hate him on the field. With him and Roddy on the field then D coordinators will have to double one of them, there’s no way around it and when left one on one with the best, Julio will win most of those battles. Falcons know what they’re doing and have just made a great move.

Crabkilla

April 29th, 2011
1:11 pm

I think the one thing the owners and players agree on is the rookie compensation. They will fix this, which means last year is not a good indicator of what this kid will be paid.

GIVE ME A BREAK

April 29th, 2011
1:15 pm

I like the idea of picking local players from GT, UGA, Alabama, Florida, etc. It’s good for fan support. Good move.

falconsfan87

April 29th, 2011
1:22 pm

I like the move but I will be the first to admit that I don’t know which DE will be free agents. Who exactly could we go after that would be an efficient pass rusher and fit our scheme?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 29th, 2011
1:23 pm

wxwax

April 29th, 2011
1:25 pm

Ledbetter, please ask Dimitroff this question:

In making the deal, did the Falcons also look at next year’s draft to assess what they might be sacrificing in trading their 2012 #1 pick?

Thanks.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 29th, 2011
1:25 pm

I have to stay objective on the move. But I think you have an offense now and Smitty, BVG, Lewis and Sugar Bear have to coach up the D!. (And sign Ray Edwards in free agency. Salvage Sidbury and get Owens tight on nickel game or get someone else. You know, objectively speaking and all.)

BjohnDawg

April 29th, 2011
1:29 pm

This guy will be a superstar in the Pros. He can be a returner, he blocks, fast 4.34 40….he can stretch the field. Now you can stretch it on both sides. Ryan and Tony and Turner should be high dancing as with a vertical attack on both sides, the defense will have to compensate which will really isolate defenders on the short passes and running plays.

Did Dim give up a lot to get him. Yes…..but remember he feels his strength is finding and discovering great talent in the late rounds of the draft. Same as New England. And he still has those late picks. So we shall see if he grabs a diamond or two in the rough.

bluto

April 29th, 2011
1:44 pm

Look at the history of 1st round DE in the draft 90% end up being busts. And before you start typing really go and look up the stats from the past 10 years. And with the 27th pick the likely hood that they would have picked a guy out of the 10% that was not a bust was very slim.

FEAR THE TALON

April 29th, 2011
1:46 pm

TO AWLLLLLL OF YOU NEGATIVE NANCY’S,ALL I CAN SAY IS THIS…….BEFORE T.D. WE ALWAYS WERE PICKING IN THE TOP TEN OF EVERY DRAFT!!!! SINCE HIS & SMITTY’S ARRIVAL WE PICK IN THE MID TO HIGH TWENTIES!!! ALSO WE NEVER HAD WINNING SEASONS BACK TO BACK BEFORE THEM EITHER!!! LET THE REST OF THE DRAFT & FREE AGENT PERIOD PLAY OUT,ONLY THEN CAN YOU FAIRLY JUDGE!!! HEY D.LED DO US A STORY A.S.A.P. ON THE FREE AGENT POOL,PLEASE!!! TIA!!

Bride of Chucky Knapp

April 29th, 2011
1:51 pm

Great comment, Bill!

Bill wrote: “First, your comparing a 6yr contract to a 5yr contract—-Look at the difference from an ANNUAL SALARY COMPARISON—$8mil/yr to $2 mil/yr. They spend an extra $6 million a year starting this year for the difference in picks. But what about the $$$ saved from not having to pay next years #1 pick (since they traded it away) along with all the other $$$ they save from the other picks they traded away. That eats into the 6mil/yr moving forward.So essentially its not going to “cost” the Falcons $38 million.”

Casey

April 29th, 2011
1:55 pm

38M in costs isn’t totally accurate when you subtract the other 4 draft picks that we would’ve had to pay. They’ll shore up the defense with one or two FA signings – you can count on that! I have faith in this team. The D will be improved and our Offense will be one of the best in the league. And if I’m wrong… life goes on people. No need to panic over something indirectly related to your life. Go Falcons.

Infamous

April 29th, 2011
1:56 pm

That being said, if there is a new rookie wage scale in effect next year, then that 1st rounder we had to give up is a little less significant. Also, if we are aggressive in free agency this year, then we won’t even hardly feel the effects at all.

chuck

April 29th, 2011
1:57 pm

I really love Jones as a player. But Atlanta gave up way too much to get Jones: their 1st, 2nd, and 4th round picks this year, plus their 1st and 4th round picks in 2012.
This was a huge mistake and will set the team back for 5 years.

iceBIRDcold

April 29th, 2011
2:02 pm

The GOAL is to win NOW………………………hello

E-falcon

April 29th, 2011
2:03 pm

The Jones pick has the potential to be a great decision. I say potential, because none of these guys are proven yet. Our defense is not terrible, in fact they actually won some games last year for us. What the Falcons are lacking is another viable option for Ryan when White is double/triple covered, and we need to get down the field fast. Jones is a big, fast, and tough wide receiver, which we need. As someone mentioned earlier, we do have more picks. We have to take risks, and get away from the conservatism that has plagued our team for years. Smart move…go Falcons!

Hollywould

April 29th, 2011
2:08 pm

great move/ I agree with Ice. Now is the time to win!!! Nobdy at 27 on defense would have started
so what is the big deal? Harry Douglas, Roddy, Jones, you can’t double all of em.

Birdman

April 29th, 2011
2:27 pm

On giving up the picks. First, we did not give up 5 picks, we gave up 4, this years 1st rounder was exchanged for a better one, we did not lose it. So we gave up a 2 and 4 this year plus a 1 and 4 next. Still hefty price yes. But imagine if this guy has the impact we think he can, something along the lines of what Randy Moss did for the Vikings. I trust DTroff knows players, and he obviously thinks this guy is a superstar in the making. Otherwise we could have drafted a second tier DE at number 27, a decent WR in the 2nd, and a fringe player with the fourth. We got a guy with a huge potential to be a game changer. If it pans out, next years number 1 will be late in the day also. So you cannot say this was a lot to give up until you see how it pans out. We will add missing pieces via FA, which is the New England model, add the pieces that get you over the top to the sturdy core you built through the draft.

Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 29th, 2011
2:28 pm

Hollywould: I agree with you, but I don’t think any teams were doubling Harry D.

Bulldog fans who can’t except this because it isn’t A.J. should just root for the Bengals. A.J. would have been just as good for the Falcons as Julio, but we couldn’t get him so just live with it.

Nique

April 29th, 2011
2:36 pm

Do do we go DE (Houston, Bailey, Sheard, or Acho) or OLB in the 3rd now (Casey Matthews, Bruce Carter, Dontay Moch)?
& then hopefully rb/scat back in the 5th (Jaqcuizz Rodgers, Taiwan Jones, or Alex Green)

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 29th, 2011
2:48 pm

TD and Mr. AB…I love this pick!! (even as an AU alumn) Watching Julio torch the guy everyone says is the top D player in the draft makes me wonder if these analysts and grumpy bloggers actually watch the games of just play fantasy football

For the Bengals…AJ and och and TO..and no QB? Wierd!

WTG Cam! you got the #1 WAR EAGLE..now as you are an nfc south panther I have to turn my back on you.

And lastly, is anyone going to even try to run on detroit now with suh and fairley and vandenbosch?

AU Nation hearts go out to the city of Tuscaloosa. God Bless as you heal.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 29th, 2011
2:51 pm

@ Nique..Go for Casey Mathews if he is there at OLB. He has the blood line. Houston may not be smart enough for the falcons scheme..who smokes pot right before the combine?

Applegator

April 29th, 2011
3:09 pm

Great decision. Remember, the Falcons moved way up to pick Ryan in 2008 — and who might they have gotten instead with lower picks? Nobody with as much impact, that’s certain. Plus, there will be plenty of veteran defensive talent available in free agency, once a new CBA is in place.and teams sign their rookie draftees.

G-man

April 29th, 2011
3:12 pm

At first I hated this deal. Then, it appears like we could get a player of Hines Ward caliber. That would make this deal worthwhile.

jwritz

April 29th, 2011
3:12 pm

Enter your comments here

Mark

April 29th, 2011
3:16 pm

The only thing I don’t like is the loss of the 2 this year, I know we had to but I wish we could have avoided it. I’m sick of getting wr’s late in the draft that don’t pan out, we needed a guy with big time play making potential and we got it. There are some defensive play makers that will be out there in free agency we can go after too in theory.