The Titans may not have been in the ideal position to trade to Julio Jones, but they did so anyway on Sunday, agreeing to acquire the former Falcons wide receiver in exchange for several draft picks.
Tennessee took the step as an AFC title contender in 2021, trying to build on an 11-5 season in which they won the AFC South. Atlanta was desperate for a salary cap space to better compete in the NFC South, and Jones Trade makes $ 15.3 million more available – which was needed just to sign his rookie class.
The Titans will take over the contract Jones signed with the Falcons in September 2019. The seven-time Pro Bowler is expected to earn $ 11.513 million in each of the final two years of the current deal, 2022 and 2023.
MORE: Julio Jones Trade Details: Falcons Grant Featured Receiver For Choices
Here’s how Sporting News rates trade for both teams:
Julio Jones Trade Notes
The Titans receive:
- WR Julio Jones
- Sixth round pick in 2023
- Second round pick in 2022
- Fourth round pick in 2023
The Titans avoided giving up a first-round pick next year and postponed additional compensation for the Day 3 pick until 2023. From that end, GM Jon Robinson made the deal, knowing that his team could use a veteran impact starter against young star AJ Brown after losing first-round Corey Davis (Jets) in 2017 in free agency.
Tennessee is one of the strongest teams in the NFL, with Derrick Henry in the powerful attack. That philosophy won’t change with former Tight Ends coach Todd Downing promoted to offensive coordinator to replace Arthur Smith, now the Falcons rookie head coach.
But Henry’s presence also gave the Titans an explosive passing game for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Brown (6-0, 226 pounds) was instrumental in that success on the field, averaging 20.2 and 15.4 yards per catch in his first two seasons, respectively. Jones (6-3, 220 pounds) is known to be a dangerous deep threat throughout his 10-year career, averaging 15.2 yards per catch. The Titans have increased their home run ability and now have a second nightmare of force-speed clash on the outside.
The Titans have also added receivers in former Rams replacement Josh Reynolds and Dez Fitzpatrick of Louisville in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Jones ‘addition is huge to try to replace Davis’ combined released 192 targets, wide receiver Adam Humprhies (Washington) and tight end Jonnu Smith (Patriots).
But with Jones, the Titans need some big offensive results that will push the Chiefs, Bills and other AFC powers into the playoffs. In addition to Tannehill’s performance in their system, the offense still has a cap on the advantage of Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
The Titans could already move the ball and score with anyone, but no matter what Jones does to bolster their offense, their pass defense issues – with big changes in the run to the edge and the secondary – are still there. which will likely keep them short of the Super Bowl. .
Jones is also 32 years old and has a history of soft tissue wear. He was paralyzed for much of 2020, missing seven games. Jones needs to be in good health and producing at his best in the short term, because even with some of the Titans’ deals, age and money suggest Jones has a small window with his new squad. Tennessee is also set to award a high-end contract to Brown, whose rookie contract expires in 2023.
The Titans were smart to be aggressive now, but picking up Jones is by no means a risk-free move. If Jones gives them All-Pro rewards, however, upgrade them to an A +.
MORE: AJ Brown On Titans Acquires Julio Jones: ‘You Are All Done’
Smith and new general manager Terry Fontenot have been accused of changing the course of the offense and taking the Falcons out of a salary cap. While Smith’s former team loves Jones, he’ll center his passing game around 2018 first-round wide receiver Calvin Ridley, a rising second All-Pro team from 2020. It also means the tight end. First-round rookie Kyle Pitts will see an even greater immediate role as a dynamic second target for quarterback Matt Ryan.
However, the Falcons looked for a first-round pick for Jones’ services and failed. Everyone in the league knew they were driven sellers on Jones, even before his infamous unintentional “interview” with “Undisputed” host Shannon Sharpe.
Accepting Jones’ contract, age and durability issues was not a good deal for most teams – apart from some suitors – so it was more supply and demand. limited compensation to get the Falcons out of a stalemate. The Titans have done their biggest favor by helping to clear the ceiling of the Falcons, putting in some nifty shortcuts.
As Ryan adjusts to life without Jones – whom he’s cast since 2011 – Atlanta will move forward into the future. Even Ryan’s replacement is on the horizon. Sacrificing some current potential with Jones still in the offensive was worth it for the team, at the expense of a questionable comeback.