The Titans could not have been within the splendid place to commerce for Julio Jones, however they did so anyway on Sunday, agreeing to purchase the previous Falcons vast receiver in change for a number of draft picks.
Tennessee made the transfer as an AFC title contender in 2021, attempting to construct on an 11-5 season by which it received the AFC South. Atlanta was determined for salary-cap area to raised compete within the NFC South, and buying and selling Jones makes $15.3 million extra out there — which was wanted simply to signal its rookie draft class.
The Titans will tackle the contract Jones signed with the Falcons in September 2019. The seven-time Professional Bowler is ready to make $11.513 million in every of the ultimate two years of the present deal, 2022 and 2023.
This is how Sporting Information assesses the commerce for each groups:
Julio Jones commerce grades
- WR Julio Jones
- 2023 sixth-round draft decide
- 2022 second-round draft decide
- 2023 fourth-round draft decide
The Titans prevented giving up a first-round decide subsequent 12 months and deferred the additional Day 3 decide compensation till 2023. From that finish, GM Jon Robinson hit the deal out of the park, figuring out his staff might use an affect veteran starter reverse younger star A.J. Brown after shedding 2017 first-rounder Corey Davis (Jets) in free company.
Tennessee is likely one of the NFL’s run-heaviest groups, that includes Derrick Henry within the energy speeding assault. That philosophy will not change with former tight ends coach Todd Downing promoted to offensive coordinator in alternative of Arthur Smith, now the Falcons’ rookie head coach.
However the presence of Henry additionally has given the Titans an explosive play-action passing recreation for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Brown (6-0, 226 kilos) has been a giant a part of that field-stretching success, averaging 20.2 and 15.4 yards per catch in his first two seasons, respectively. Jones (6-3, 220 kilos) is thought to be a harmful deep menace all through his 10-year profession, averaging 15.2 yards per catch. The Titans have raised their home-run capacity and now have a second strength-speed matchup nightmare on the skin.
The Titans additionally added receivers in former Rams backup Josh Reynolds and Louisville’s Dez Fitzpatrick within the fourth spherical of the 2021 NFL Draft. Including Jones is large in attempting to switch the 192 mixed vacated targets of Davis, slot receiver Adam Humprhies (Washington) and tight finish Jonnu Smith (Patriots).
However with Jones, the Titans want large offensive outcomes that may add as much as going additional than the Chiefs, Payments and different AFC powers within the playoffs. In addition to Tannehill has carried out of their system, the offense nonetheless has a ceiling in relation to the upside of Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
The Titans already might transfer the ball and rating with anybody, however it doesn’t matter what Jones does to spice up their offense, their move protection points — with large modifications within the edge rush and secondary — nonetheless are what is going to probably maintain them wanting the Tremendous Bowl.
Jones can be 32 and has a historical past of soft-tissue harm put on. He was hamstrung for a lot of 2020, lacking seven video games. Jones have to be wholesome and produce at his finest degree within the quick time period, as a result of even with some contract finagling by the Titans, age and cash recommend Jones has a small window together with his new staff. Tennessee additionally should dole out a high-end contract to Brown, whose rookie deal expires in 2023.
The Titans have been good to be aggressive now, however selecting up Jones is not a risk-free transfer by any means. Ought to Jones give them All-Professional rewards, nonetheless, improve them to an A+.
Smith and new GM Terry Fontenot have been charged with altering the course of the offense and getting the Falcons out of a salary-cap bind. Whereas Smith’s former staff enjoys Jones, he’ll middle his passing recreation round 2018 first-round vast receiver Calvin Ridley, a rising second-team All-Professional from 2020. This additionally means rookie first-round tight finish Kyle Pitts will see a fair larger rapid position as a distinct sort of dynamic second goal for quarterback Matt Ryan.
The Falcons sought a first-round decide for Jones’ providers, nonetheless, and fell effectively wanting that. Everybody across the league knew they have been motivated sellers on Jones, even earlier than his notorious unintentional “interview” with “Undisputed” host Shannon Sharpe.
Taking up Jones’ contract, age and sturdiness issues wasn’t a very good formulation for many groups — outdoors of choose contenders — so it was a case of the provision and demand including as much as restricted compensation to get the Falcons out of a bind. The Titans did their greatest favor by serving to to clear the Falcons cap, organising some shrewd short-changing.
Whereas Ryan adjusts to life with out Jones — to whom he has thrown since 2011 — Atlanta will push ahead to the long run. Even changing Ryan is on the horizon. Sacrificing some current potential with Jones nonetheless within the offense was value it to the staff, on the expense of questionable return.