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

Ryan

April 29th, 2011
3:20 pm

That stat is misleading. You would need to add up the salary of all 5 picks we traded and then compare it to what Julio will get.

jwritz

April 29th, 2011
3:20 pm

D-Led, Julio better come in and contribute right away for that kind of money? Dimitroff must be hoping for some of his late round magic (or luck). Need “D” help, and some kind of future tight end. Led how ’bout the Saint picks in the first round impressive.

McNasty

April 29th, 2011
3:25 pm

You heard it here first. JJ will be rookie of year.
Dled why would you post a link to that ignorant crap that uses the N word as a represenative of the AJC?

Jay Dubu

April 29th, 2011
3:31 pm

D.O.L.,

The Flacons have to have players to coach up. They put little to no pressure on the QB last year.

They have average linebackers, and below average DBs.

It would have been nice for them to get Prince Amukamara or Jimmy Smith, and look for a WR in the 2nd round.

Jones is a talent, but the Falcons gave up more than they should have to get him.

Bad Newz

April 29th, 2011
3:35 pm

I liked the pick until I heard we came close to getting AJ Green…now every time Julio drops a pass I’m going to think of how good AJ would have looked in Black and Red Falcons uniform…Either way – losing next year’s 1st round pick is no big deal because it is going to be a low pick again. Adding a play maker like this is a good move assuming he is the player everyone things he can be…

clay

April 29th, 2011
3:36 pm

I have a feeling were going to make up with the draft picks by signing two big free agents when we can.

Jay Dubu

April 29th, 2011
3:36 pm

The Falcons need a RB that compliments Turner’s straight ahead bull in the china shop attack.

Jones-in

April 29th, 2011
3:41 pm

Good pick although trade price was high.

Mr. Ford

April 29th, 2011
3:44 pm

I can’t explain it but I just don’t have a good feeling about this move. Even if he succeeds, there is no way this is justifiable of exorbinate amounts of money. More likely scenario: very few highlights to off-set the expense. I foresee many, many, recurring and nagging injuries that will limit the number of games played to point where it averages less than 10 per season. For Falsons aske, I hope the backups come prepared to step in on short notice.

Jay Dubu

April 29th, 2011
3:52 pm

@Poppa Falcon,

How do the Falcons have lots of cap space, when that number hasn’t even been set for this year?

Pete

April 29th, 2011
3:58 pm

I can only assume that they feel they can shore up the defense through free agency. It seems foolish to evaluate the team based on the draft. Let’s see what the roster looks like come August, then we’ll know what sort of team we have next season.

Does it have Talons?

April 29th, 2011
4:12 pm

Why did we trade up to draft a Mercedes when we could have gotten a Kia in round 2?

I’d much rather have had 5 Walmart watches instead of that Rolex.

Count me in for several cubic zirconia rings instead of that silly 2 carat diamond platinum ring.

Did they give up a lot for this trade? Yes. But let’s stop talking like you are going to get 5 Pro-Bowl starters with two late 1st round picks, a late 2nd round pick, and two late 4th round picks. That’s just uneducated and pie in the sky.

Steve-O

April 29th, 2011
4:23 pm

FYI, we only gave up 4 picks, since we swapped 1st round picks this year and then gave up this year’s 2nd and 4th as well as next year’s 1st and 4th. That means we gave up 4 picks and swapped one.

Joe Tess Fish House

April 29th, 2011
4:42 pm

Whos the blond on the right?

Old Falcon, retired

April 29th, 2011
4:45 pm

I think it was an excellent move. I think there are a great many potential free agents who won’t be drafted that make up for the lost draft picks. What a great receiver. I think we should continue the trend and draft more speed guys and sign many undrafted players with speed. Find those in-betweeners with blazing speed. Peace

Joe Tess Fish House

April 29th, 2011
4:51 pm

back to the reel world. This trade was a hugh misteak. Maybe some of you wil finnaly see that TD is not a genus. Look at all his drafts….Loaded with busts.

Chris

April 29th, 2011
5:16 pm

Bill: 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.

Yes they save by not having to pay for the picks they lost in the trade, but they will have to spend for the FAs they will need to bring in now that they don’t have the draft picks

Show Time

April 29th, 2011
5:19 pm

If we win, everyone will say it was a great pick and investment. If we lose, they will say we gave up too much and shouldn’t have done it. Talking about it now means nothing. Time will tell. All I know is that when Ryan finds him deep down the middle vs. the Saints, it will be a pretty site to see!!!

Chris

April 29th, 2011
5:21 pm

Joe Tess Fish House
I’m with you on TD.
He has made as many mistakes as he has made good picks.
The good picks of Ryan, Lofton, and Spoon will be a wash with all the Draft picks he just gave away.

Chris

April 29th, 2011
5:28 pm

Show time….
Don’t expect too many hook ups deep with Julio, or any other WR.
Ryan is not that accurate past 15-20 yrds. Go back and look at the film over the past 3 yrs and you will see the proof.
Just this past year…how many passes deep did Ryan miss on to Douglas and White.
The type of receiver is not the reason we don’t pass deep more often.
It’s b/c Ryan does not have that type of arm.
Ryan is suited more for a West Coast style of Offense. He is accurate (10-20 yrds) and makes good judgements fast.
If we had a speed back, instead of Turner, and we ran a West Coast Offense, we would have a more potent O.

Chris

April 29th, 2011
5:33 pm

Just like everyone is expecting us to sign a DE in FA, we could have done the same for a WR.
We could have moved up to 10-18 and still Drafted a good DE or WR. With the latter picks we could have found a speed WR, RB, and OLB in the 2nd and 3rd.
What we positions we were not able to Draft, we could have then went after in FA.

Columbus

April 29th, 2011
6:56 pm

No this move did not cost 38.5 million since we will not have a 1st round next year.

Columbus

April 29th, 2011
6:59 pm

Look the Falocns did not want just another receiver, they wanted the BEST receiver and got the 2nd best. Their mission was a success and getting a serviceable receiver would have been a failure….We now have 2 Pro-Bowl Caliber Receivers, plus Gonzalez and NOW the serviceable receivers can catch a lot more balls because they will be NO ONE to cover them…

rms

April 29th, 2011
7:07 pm

I am more afraid of what our competition in the NFC South drafted. Look at what the Saints got; a DE and a RB (Ingram)!! Better re-up on our defense–FAST!!

Ditka

April 29th, 2011
7:28 pm

I would have made the same deal !

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ATLol

April 29th, 2011
8:25 pm

Players I thought the Falcons should get are just now going off the board like Brandon Harris. I am glad I am not drafting.

King Tee

April 29th, 2011
8:38 pm

Julio Jones is a BEAST….GREAT MOVE!!! We can address the defensive needs in free agency.

SeenThisB4

April 29th, 2011
9:02 pm

….on the other hand, Julio Jones has never caught a pass in the NFL.

Cool

April 29th, 2011
10:35 pm

Look! The GM and owner of the Falcons want to win a Super Bowl NOW! Dimitroff is used to winning and now he has the Falcons winning. Give the man a little credit for wanting to win and Julio Jones is a WINNER! He has great speed, good hands, and good height. Jones is now the teams fastest receiver. Teams can’t double Roddy no more. Go for it ALL FALCONS!

hiramsaint

April 29th, 2011
11:02 pm

when was the last time dimitroff won a playoff game? oh i’m sorry- i see that he wants to win. once again the failcans settling for mediocrity

DR. FALCON

April 30th, 2011
12:05 am

AGGRESSIVE TEAMS DO WELL IN THE PLAYOFFS! NO MORE 10-12 PLAY 88YD DRIVES. WE NOW HAVE HOMERUN CAPABILITY. I’M SURE MICHAEL TURNER APPRECIATES THE MOVE, BECAUSE IT WILL SAVE THE WEAR AND TEAR ON HIS LEGS! TURNER WILL BE 29YRS OLD THIS YEAR. WE ARE TRYING TO MAKE A SERIOUS PUSH AT THE ‘BOWL! REMEMBER PEOPLE, OUR SCHEDULE IS BRUTAL! WE NEED TO STRIKE FAST SOMETIMES!

falconfiend

April 30th, 2011
12:39 am

This is the biggest story in the draft. I heard this pick mixed with the ROYAL WEDDING, on the Jim Rome radio show, atl newspapers. radio, internet. Hear we go. If you want to win you have take risks. Atl OFFENSE IS BIG NOW. You need creative thinking, What other TEAMS would not do, makes a difference. I heard they said were trying to be like the steelers or new england. Not True. OUR Falcon Front Office is building from 2008. Remember Matt ryan and company. They said we made mistakes in the draft by not taking REVIS ISLAND AND MATTHEWS. YEP? We aced the 2008 draft and been 3 time winners in a row and 2 out of the 3 playoffs with this young group. Now the addition of julio jones; Falcons are ready to go on offense.

falconfiend

April 30th, 2011
12:51 am

Falcons have 5 more picks in this draft. I like to see Jarrard tarruant from Georgia Tech on this roster. There is also Mario butler from g. tech. I like the addition of Akeem Dent- woof woof woof. There is also a corner from Central Florida who shut down AJ Green. Justin Boddie. Look at the bowl game.

89_dirtybird

April 30th, 2011
1:30 am

For all of you who thinks this is a bad trade tell me how.. because i am going to tell you how its the perfect trade. Look at the way Jones is built.. how many elite recievers have his body and his speed.. This is a perfect fit for Atlanta. It just made everyone on offense that much more powerful. Jones is a strong tough reciever who will cut across the middle to catch the ball. Meaning defenses can blitz all day and Ryan will 3 step drop and hit a quick slant to Jones or Roddy because they both go across the middle. Plus they can break tackles. So you got 2 recievers outside who can beat you deep but dont have to. They can beat you on a cross or slant and break a tackle and score every play.And they can run block and block down field for other recievers. That just brought TG back for one more year which will be his best with the Falcons because now both safeties will have to play back and TG to occupy the middle. Where he is at his best. Plus you got more running room for Turner. And Ryan doesnt get hit. Bravo Dimitroff and Blank. Flawless

Dr.EB

April 30th, 2011
2:31 am

I like the move. I am glad that they got Jones. The front office knows that they can and have to make more moves to help the defense. They are not finished.

cwltank

April 30th, 2011
3:49 am

If you add up the amount of money for 2 bottom 1st round picks 2 2nd’s & a 4th we actually saved money. Great move we missed on Moss. TD will get the glory but Blank write the checks. Great job Blank you saved the franchise…….

cwltank

April 30th, 2011
3:57 am

I was referring to Moss when he was drafted. Minnesota had the guts to draft him & in his prime he was a beast. Jones will have that same impact….. Green will fare ok, he will play outdoors in the cold. Jones will play mostly on turf & what corner can match his speed and strength……. For those who know football WE FINALLY HAVE A DEEP THREAT……. And for the record how can Ryan throw deep to recievers who cant go and get it……..I predict we draft a TE and a Center next.

AlanFalcon

April 30th, 2011
9:15 am

$38.5 million now, what is the potential savings for the complete deal this year and next, could be quite nice for hitting the free agent market.

Jborodawg

April 30th, 2011
1:18 pm

At first blanch, it appeared the Falcons gave up too much. But, now I agree with TD and Smitty’s reasoning. Good move.