The Titans could not have been within the superb place to commerce for Julio Jones, however they did so anyway on Sunday, agreeing to purchase the previous Falcons vast receiver in alternate for a number of draft picks.
Tennessee made the transfer as an AFC title contender in 2021, making an attempt to construct on an 11-5 season wherein it gained the AFC South. Atlanta was determined for salary-cap area to higher 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.
Here 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, understanding his workforce may use an impression 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 dashing assault. That philosophy will not change with former tight ends coach Todd Downing promoted to offensive coordinator in substitute of Arthur Smith, now the Falcons’ rookie head coach.
However the presence of Henry additionally has given the Titans an explosive play-action passing sport 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 understood to be a harmful deep risk 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 big in making an attempt to exchange the 192 mixed vacated targets of Davis, slot receiver Adam Humprhies (Washington) and tight finish Jonnu Smith (Patriots).
However with Jones, the Titans want massive 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 may transfer the ball and rating with anybody, however it doesn’t matter what Jones does to spice up their offense, their cross protection points — with massive adjustments within the edge rush and secondary — nonetheless are what is going to seemingly hold them wanting the Tremendous Bowl.
Jones can also 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 should be wholesome and produce at his finest stage within the brief 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 workforce. Tennessee additionally should dole out a high-end contract to Brown, whose rookie deal expires in 2023.
The Titans had 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, nevertheless, improve them to an A+.
Smith and new GM Terry Fontenot had been charged with altering the course of the offense and getting the Falcons out of a salary-cap bind. Whereas Smith’s former workforce enjoys Jones, he’ll heart his passing sport 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 fast function as a distinct form of dynamic second goal for quarterback Matt Ryan.
The Falcons sought a first-round decide for Jones’ providers, nevertheless, and fell properly wanting that. Everybody across the league knew they had been motivated sellers on Jones, even earlier than his notorious unintentional “interview” with “Undisputed” host Shannon Sharpe.
Taking over Jones’ contract, age and sturdiness issues wasn’t a great 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 longer term. Even changing Ryan is on the horizon. Sacrificing some current potential with Jones nonetheless within the offense was value it to the workforce, on the expense of questionable return.