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Arthur Smith calls Julio Jones trade a “win-win”

He only played five games in 2020 before suffering a gruesome leg injury, but Dak Prescott's production, arm talent and leadership were still enough to land him at No. 9 in Chris Simms' Top 40 QB Countdown.

The Falcons traded away one of the best receivers in the NFL this month, but coach Arthur Smith doesn’t think that was a loss for his team.

Smith said on Cris Collinsworth’s podcast that he knew as soon as he took the Falcons head coaching job that Atlanta was going to have to make some difficult moves to address its difficult salary cap situation, and that in the end he’s satisfied with how it went down.

“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. 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,” Smith said. “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.”

The Falcons got a 2022 second-round draft pick in the trade, as well as a swap of third-day picks in 2023. More importantly for the Falcons, they saved the $15.3 million in salary they would have had to pay Jones if he had remained on the roster this season. Smith’s comments make clear that getting Jones’ salary off their books was one of the Falcons’ highest priorities this year.