NY Jets are a 'team to watch' for Falcons LB Deion Jones

NY Jets, Deion Jones
NY Jets, Deion Jones / Timothy T Ludwig/GettyImages

The NY Jets have been in the market for linebacker help in the weeks following the 2022 NFL Draft, and one former Pro Bowler, Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones, could pique their interest.

Jones has seen his stock plummet over the last few years and now seems unlikely to play another game in a Falcons uniform. The Athletic's Jeff Schultz reported on Tuesday that Jones' departure from Atlanta was "imminent," whether via trade or an outright release.

While Schultz didn't mention any potential landing spots, the folks over at uSTADIUM identified the Jets and Dallas Cowboys as two teams to watch.

The logic behind this claim was the presence of two of Jones' former coaches, Dan Quinn and Jeff Ulbrich, on either team. Jones played the best football of his career under their tutelage and could really use a change of scenery.

Would Deion Jones be an upgrade for the NY Jets?

A second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jones quickly developed into one of the cornerstones of a young and talented Falcons defense. He made his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2017 and was well on his way to establishing himself as one of the best linebackers in football.

Jones enjoyed a few more successful seasons in Atlanta, but his play in recent years has diminished significantly. Much of this has been attributed to the departure of Quinn as Atlanta's new defensive scheme doesn't exactly suit their former Pro Bowl linebacker.

Still, his noticeable drop in effectiveness has been concerning, and it's likely going to lead to the Falcons taking on a ridiculous amount of dead cap space just to get him off their roster.

Releasing Jones after June 1st would save the Falcons just over $1 million in cap space and carry a dead cap charge of nearly $19 million. That hefty contract is why the Falcons will likely struggle to move him.

Any team looking to trade for Jones would need to take on $13.64 million of his salary in 2022, a figure that's far too high given his caliber of play over the last couple of years.

The Jets have a pretty pressing need at the linebacker position, despite their belief in C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams. Jones fits the system, but the Jets would need to be confident that he could improve after being reunited with Ulbrich.

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This isn't the same Deion Jones that was one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL a few years ago, but for the right price, the Jets absolutely should be interested.

He's someone to keep an eye on as we approach the beginning of June.