Atlanta Falcons middle linebacker Deion Jones is on the trade block and I can think of a few Super Bowl contenders would could really use him. Not that their odds to win the Lombardi Trophy would move if they did swing a deal, but their chances of winning certainly would.
No, Jones, a one-time Pro Bowl pick, isn't the best middle linebacker in the league. He is, however, a consistent run stuffer with the ability to make plays in the pass game too. For these three teams, whose Super Bowl odds from WynnBET I have in brackets, that's a big upgrade from their current status.
Kansas City Chiefs (+1000)
The Chiefs play in a division where the running back position still matters and having someone to stop them is important. Unfortunately, their current starting middle linebacker, Jermaine Carter, hasn't proven he's capable of stuffing running backs like Austin Ekeler or Josh Jacobs. In fact, he just started his first full season with the Panthers last year and made a whopping 88 TOTAL tackles in 17 games. Jones had 87 SOLO tackles in 16 games last season.
The Chiefs have a lot of new faces on defense following an offseason makeover after a disastrous 2021 season. Adding Jones not only solidifies the middle of that unit, but also gives them a play caller comfortable taking charge.
The big issue is Jones has a base salary of $9.6 million and the Chiefs only have $7.6 million in cap space. But I've seen creative GMs do more with less.
Cincinnati Bengals (+2000)
The Bengals are trying to avoid the Super Bowl loser's hangover by relying on their explosive offense to score a ton of points. But if you remember the playoffs last year, it was actually their defense that made the biggest difference down the stretch, holding the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans and Chiefs to 19 16 and 24 points respectively to make the Super Bowl.
Another reason I like this move for them is the AFC North is a smash-mouth division. Germaine Pratt has proven serviceable as the Bengals full-time starter at middle linebacker the last two years, but Jones is an upgrade from both a production and playmaker standpoint.
The Bengals have over $13 million in cap space so they can afford Jones as is. Seems like a good fit to me.
Miami Dolphins (+2500)
The Dolphins proved they're all-in on winning this year when they traded for Tyreek Hill this offseason. Now they can prove it again at a much lower asking price.
Elandon Roberts is a serviceable starter at the left inside linebacker position, but Jones can do more. Even better, Jones plays Roberts' position in a 3-4 defense already, so the transition should be smooth. And with over $16 million in cap space, they can afford him.
The Dolphins signed former Pro Bowl pass rusher Melvin Ingram this offseason to give their defense a boost. If they can acquire Jones for a late-round pick, that would be another win. That seems like the most important thing in Miami right now, winning, so might as well swing for the fences with another trade that could pay off big time.