Days after the Atlanta Falcons agreed to trade All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans earlier this month, Falcons head coach Arthur Smith told reporters that he does not "worry about players that I never coached."
Smith, who accepted the Atlanta gig in January, may not be concerned about Jones, but he found himself defending the trade that removed $15.3 million in salary-cap space from the books while recently speaking on Cris Collinsworth's podcast.
"We knew the issue with the cap and then obviously the cap went down this year, coming off the bizarre year with the pandemic, the cap actually shrunk," Smith explained, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. "So we knew there were going to be some big decisions we would have to make coming up. The way everything worked out, we feel pretty good. We feel like it was a win-win. With the salary cap, and Julio going to Tennessee and us right now being able to solve our short-term issue with the cap."
As Smith stated, the cap fell for 2021 by nearly $16 million from the previous season because of financial losses endured during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Falcons were just one club that had to make difficult choices over the past several months. Atlanta won't be ready to win a championship this fall, so the hope is the trade helps accelerate this latest roster rebuild.