HOUSTON — Back in 2011, the Falcons made a bold move to trade a ton of draft picks to the Browns for the right to select Julio Jones with a top-10 pick. In a widely-publicized story from Michael Holley’s book “War Games,” Bill Belichick infamously advised Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff not to make the move.
There is a theory that Belichick was advising Dimitroff that trading up in general is a bad idea (especially if you give away a huge haul). The Patriots coach was asked about that Thursday and wasn’t interested in talking about the deal.
“I don’t really see any point in going back over that conversation,” Belichick said. “It was a long time ago and it doesn’t really have any application to what’s going to happen Sunday.”
But to be clear: Belichick really likes Julio as a player. He praised him as one of the most athletic and dynamic receivers in the league and called him a “tremendous player.”
“No, I think I’ve said many times, Julio Jones is a tremendous player,” Belichick said. “He does everything well, plus he brings a toughness to that position that I would say is extremely high.”
The Patriots coach pointed out that Julio does many things well and that he also spoke to Alabama coach Nick Saban about Julio numerous times.
Belichick’s initial advice really does hold up better than people give it credit for. Would he want Julio on his team? Yeah, no kidding he would. But Belichick’s advice was more about valuing assets and not giving up a ton of capital in the draft to take a shot on a single player (when no single player is guaranteed to succeed, ever).
Plus, the reality is that if the Falcons had stayed put, they could’ve potentially ended up with an even bigger haul, as CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora discussed with executives around the league.
This is a results-driven world, and Julio being a superstar makes it difficult to point out the Falcons won the trade. But Belichick’s got a lot of pretty positive history on his side too. It’s hard to question his football knowledge and/or execution in player acqusition when he’s rolling into his seventh Super Bowl as a head coach.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Bill Belichick has zero interest in talking about his Julio Jones advice to Falcons