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Do the 49ers really need Julio Jones?

We ask three questions to determine the answer.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Whenever I am going to make a big purchase, I ask myself three questions to help me decide whether or not to move forward.

  1. Do I love it?
  2. Do I need it?
  3. Is it a good deal?

If I can answer yes to two out of these three questions, I know I’ll never regret the purchase. Think about it. If you love something, and you need it, it doesn’t matter if it’s a good deal or not. If you love something and it’s a good deal, it’s okay if you don’t need it. Finally, if you need something, and it’s a good deal, it doesn’t matter if you don’t love it.

Let’s apply those same three questions to the acquisition of Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.

(Quick side note, Michelle Magdziuk and I did this in today’s Niners Nation Radio podcast - which you should most definitely check out).

Question 1: Do you love it?

This one is easy. Julio Jones is 32 years old, is constantly banged up, and is coming off a season where he missed seven games. While he clearly would be the best receiver on the 49ers if he joined the roster, what are the odds that he’d be on the field for all 16 games? Can this team really afford to depend on yet another player issues staying healthy?

Question 2: Do you need it?

I would argue that the 49ers do not need Julio Jones. I do concede that they currently don’t have any one player that looks like a lock to replicate the 49 catches and 600+ yards that Kendrick Bourne produced on his own last season. But, can the combined forces of Richie James, River Cracraft, Mohamed Sanu, Austin Watkins Jr., and maybe even Jalen Hurd produce that much? I believe they can. That said, I understand that people may not be happy with that assessment, so let’s be generous and put this one in the “yes” column.

Question 3: Is it a good deal?

This is obviously the most difficult question to answer because we don’t actually know what the deal would look like. However, let’s use this example from The Athletic as a framework. According to the article, one possible deal the Niners could strike with Atlanta is as follows:

49ers Receive: Julio Jones

Falcons Receive: 2022 second round pick (conditional on Jones playing 12 games), 2023 third round pick

Under the proposed deal, the Falcons would also pay $5 million of Jones’ salary, which would bring his cap number this year down to around $10 million.

After this trade, the 49ers draft cupboard would be severely depleted, which make it extremely difficult to replenish the roster as players leave due to injuries, free agency, etc. Now, if the trade were to take place under different terms I’d obviously have to reassess things, but just going off what was suggested in The Athletic, that’s a hard pass for me.

What do you think? Is it worth mortgaging the future to go all-in this year? Leave us a comment below.

Other topics in the podcast

  • If Jones is acquired, does Kyle have to play Jimmy Garoppolo the whole year?
  • Are people sleeping on the impact of Robert Saleh’s departure?