In the days following the trade, the Tennessee Titans have been bashed by the media. The majority of the criticism has focused on the trade of the talented, young, but declining receiver Julio Jones for a slew of draft picks. Yet, despite all this criticism, one fact has been ignored: Jones is a declining asset, and the trade was a good deal.
It is hard to feel bad for the Atlanta Falcons, even after the events of the past few days. Despite the Falcons’ best efforts, a trade for Julio Jones was inevitable. When the opportunity arose to get Jones in exchange for a declining asset, the Falcons jumped at the opportunity, even though it meant parting with a player who they don’t seem to know what to do with. It is hard to imagine that Atlanta will want to lose its #1 wide receiver, but the truth is that Jones does not fit into the Falcons’ current system, no matter how much they say otherwise.There is no doubt that Julio Jones deserves a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s even possible that the perennial Atlanta Falcons star never catches a pass again and yet is considered one of the greatest receivers in NFL history. But given his age, contract and injury history, Jones looks like an asset in the making. And if you take a step back and look at the big picture, the Tennessee Titans look even worse because they spent a lot of money to acquire a player whose value seems to be going in the wrong direction.
Julio Jones has finally found a new home in the NFL after months of waiting
. During the offseason, the Falcons faced a number of issues that needed to be addressed. That included deciding what to do with Jones, who played just nine games in 2020 due to lingering hamstring problems. Despite being one of the most popular players in franchise history, the seven-time Pro Bowler finally got his way and found a way to leave Atlanta. After weeks of trade rumors and speculation about possible landing spots for Jones, the Falcons have finally found a new home for him in the NFL. Tennessee won the race for Jones’ services by sending a second-round pick in 2022 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2023 to Atlanta in exchange for the 32-year-old receiver and a sixth-round pick in 2023. That’s not an outrageous price for one of the greatest game makers of all time, is it? At first glance, the deal doesn’t look so bad from the Titans’ perspective. But when you look at the true nature of the Jones deal market, the franchise seems downright foolish to invest in a declining asset.
The hard truth about Jones’ contract makes the Titans stupid to invest in his future
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is grabbed during a game against the New Orleans Saints in the 2020 NFL season. | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Several teams were interested in acquiring Jones. But according to NFL reporter Peter King, the Falcons gave him to the Titans mainly because no other club made an offer that was compelling enough. The market for Jones wasn’t as hot as the Falcons thought, King writes in his weekly Football Morning in America column. Baltimore was interested before the draft, but after Sammy Watkins was released and Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace were drafted in the first and fourth rounds, the Ravens declined. New England never considered spending $38 million on the 32-year-old receiver. Seattle was interested, but not at a high price. King’s source said three other teams were involved in trade talks with the Falcons, but none were willing to give what Tennessee did. In the end, the Titans’ willingness to include their second draft pick in the deal sealed the deal. More importantly, they took all of the money left in Jones’ contract. Given all the factors at play here, the Titans seem downright foolish to make such an investment. Not only did they have to give up an extra pick to beat other teams, but they couldn’t get the Falcons to pay at least part of the $38 million Jones is owed over the next three years. Tennessee has essentially tied the knot with an aging receiver who is showing significant physical signs of wear and tear. Although Jones’ postseason departure only brings in $2 million in dead money, the Titans have been heavily criticized for sending two draft picks and paying him $15.3 million for just one year of work. Since receivers generally don’t get better as they approach 30, the Titans should get no credit for the deal they made with an aging version of Jones.
Business impact study for Titans and Falcons
. With Jones now at Tennessee, it will be interesting to see how his absence affects Atlanta’s offense. Of course, Calvin Ridley has a chance to make big gains as Matt Ryan’s new #1 receiver. But will the 2018 first-round pick be the same if he doesn’t have a Hall of Fame player to catch the eye of defenders? Perhaps Kyle Pitts can replace some of Jones’ production, but that remains an impossible task for a rookie. But at least the Falcons can count on building around these two dynamic playmakers. And Jones? He doesn’t even have to be a -type anymore. A.J. Brown should actually be Ryan Tannehill’s main target. But that doesn’t mean Jones isn’t needed. After losing Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis to free agency, Tennessee will have to replace the 106 combined receptions they recorded in 2020. In his heyday, the record-breaking catcher could take care of himself. Unfortunately for the Titans, they did not acquire this version of Julio Jones. COMPARED TO: Giulio Jones can thank Nick Saban for relieving the Falcons
Frequently Asked Questions
What did the Falcons trade for Julio Jones?
As the 2017 NFL season approaches, the Atlanta Falcons had a different look this preseason. Gone is the fire-wagon defense that made them the NFL’s top scoring defense for three straight seasons. In its place is a team that ranks 24th in scoring defense. The same can be said for the passing game that has been led by WR Julio Jones the past five seasons. Although Jones is no longer part of the Falcons’ passing attack, the team’s trade for WR Calvin Ridley has the potential to change the way the team is perceived. For a while, it appeared that the Atlanta Falcons had finally found their man at receiver: Julio Jones. The star wide receiver was finally paid what he was worth and then some, and he rewarded the Falcons by leading the team to the NFC championship game in the 2014 season. In the 2015 season, however, Jones started to struggle with injuries, and the team then gave him a $71 million extension. This summer, Jones got on the wrong side of a woman, who filed a lawsuit alleging Jones assaulted her while she was pregnant with his child. The Falcons had no choice but to trade Jones to the rival, and now burgeoning, Tennessee Titans.
Is Julio Jones on the Titans?
So, was Julio Jones on the Titans? There’s an easy answer to that: yes. The trade was a lopsided one, as the Titans gave up a second-round pick to the Falcons for a 31-year-old, declining receiver who will be paid $15 million in 2018. Jones does have some upside remaining, and the Titans gave up a second-round pick for him, which is a hefty price to pay for a 32-year-old receiver. The Titans, however, are a team with a very small window of contention, and that window is closing quickly. For that reason, they felt they had to make a splash in free agency and make a run at Jones while they still could. The Tennessee Titans are a football team that has had a busy offseason. First, they cut their star Wide Receiver, and then they added another one in the form of Julian Edelman, via a trade with the New England Patriots. They also added a talented Running Back, and a Playmaker on Special Teams. However, they are still lacking a star Cornerback of the caliber of Julio Jones.
Did Julio Jones get traded?
When the Atlanta Falcons acquired wide receiver Julio Jones from the Arizona Cardinals during training camp, fans were excited. The #1 wide receiver in the NFL had been in Atlanta for the last five seasons, and the Falcons had been looking for a big-time playmaker on the outside. But the excitement quickly subsided when the trade went down and the Falcons chose to send Jones to the division rival Tennessee Titans for a second-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick. The Falcons website called it a “difference-maker”. But the Atlanta front office clearly had other ideas. The Atlanta Falcons traded wide receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans for a 2018 6th round pick, a 2019 4th round pick, and a 2020 3rd round pick. The trade certainly makes sense for the Falcons, as they have a chance to rebuild around Matt Ryan and Devonta Freeman. But the Titans are making a big mistake here. The return on investment of the trade is not worth it.