Apparently the New England Patriots never entered the Julio Jones sweepstakes.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, New England “never showed real interest to Atlanta in Jones.” There had been a previous report that the Patriots were having internal discussions about dealing for the All-Pro wide receiver, but it sounds like things never went beyond that.

Julio Jones holds the Atlanta Falcons record with 848 catches for 12,896 yards. He was traded to the Titans on Sunday. Danny Karnik/Associated Press

The Falcons wound up trading Jones and a sixth-round pick to the Titans for a second and fourth-rounder. Breer also reports Atlanta was never offered a first-round pick, so ESPN’s report that the Falcons had one on the table was likely hogwash.

After passing on Jones, the Patriots still have $16.1 million in cap space. They need to sign a couple draft picks to their rookie deals, but once that’s done the team should have enough money to restructure Stephon Gilmore’s deal, if they want to go that route.

The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year is on the books for less than $8 million in real money this season — it’s the final year of his deal — so Gilmore will likely be looking for a raise.

Initially it seemed the cornerback would be traded as the Patriots eyed a rebuild, but after Bill Belichick’s wild free agency, the team should be a real contender in 2021 — and they’ll be a better team with a happy Gilmore on the roster.

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