The Julio Jones trade saga has finally come to and exhilarating end as the future hall-of-fame receiver has found a new home with the Tennessee Titans. The Falcons have been searching for a trade partner to deal the star wideout for months, as Julio wanted to play for a Super Bowl contending team. In this article, I'll be breaking down the trade and how this blockbuster deal impacts both teams.
Tennessee clearly won this trade with the Falcons for five-time All-Pro Julio Jones. The Titans have further solidified their status in the NFL as Super Bowl contenders and have quickly assembled one of the scariest offenses in the league. Adding Jones to a depleted receiver core that lost three of its top five receivers from a season ago makes the Titans receiving corps even better than it was a season ago. The wide receiver duo of young superstar A.J. Brown and future hall-of-fame player Julio Jones instantly become arguably the best receiver tandem in the entire NFL. The Titans passing attack should see a surge in passing yards, and attempts per game, two categories in which the Titans ranked twenty-third and thirtieth a season ago. Tennessee has now combined the talents of A.J. Brown and Jones on the outside, with the ability of running back Derrick Henry, which is a scary, scary thought. Henry led the NFL in rush yards a season ago with two-thousand and twenty-seven yards. The runner up you might ask? Well, he wasn’t even close. Dalvin Cook was second in rush yards and had nearly five-hundred less than Henry with one-thousand five-hundred and fifty-seven. Henry was the main reason for the Titans success a season ago and led the Titans to the number two rushing offense in regards to rushing attempts, yards, yards per carry, and touchdowns per game. Teams can no longer try and plan to shut down Henry only because if they do, they’ll most likely get torched by Jones and A.J. Brown. The Titans will be an interesting and exciting team to watch for years to come.
Let's face it, the Falcons were robbed in this trade. All along it was said that the Falcons wouldn’t accept anything less than a first-round pick. Well, Atlanta and new General Manager Terry Fontenot settled here and if this was truly the best deal they received, then that’s shocking. The Falcons will receive a meager two total draft picks for a five-time All-Pro. Only one of these draft picks was in the first three rounds. Atlanta will receive a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick while giving up Jones and a 2023 sixth-round selection. Not only did the Falcons get only two draft picks for Jones while having to give up a late-round pick and taking on 7.75 million in dead money this year. Understandably, the Falcons had no real choice in trading Julio Jones as he requested to be traded several months ago. However, the Falcons and Terry Fontenot failed to stand their ground in terms of what they expected to receive for Julio Jones. Furthermore, this trade doesn’t match up with Atlanta’s alleged “win-now” timeline or their plan to keep Matt Ryan going forward. The Falcons just traded away the best weapon for Matt Ryan and his long-time go-to receiver. As previously said, the Falcons had no real choice but to trade Jones, but the Falcons didn’t add any “win now” value. The draft picks the Falcons received are not going to provide them with many and possibly even no players who will allow them to win right away with Matt Ryan. Atlanta could be seeing a dark rebuild period in the future once Matt Ryan calls it a career, and this trade didn’t give them the assets to win now or lessen the pain of that potential rebuild period. Atlanta and Terry Fontenot’s inability to stand firm on what they wanted for Jones could come back to haunt them sooner, rather than later.
*All stats are from ESPN Stats & Info. Department and TeamRankings.com