Atlanta Falcons star wide receiver Julio Jones made it perfectly clear via the media earlier this week that he wants out of dodge after a decade with the organization.
This pretty much coincides with months of speculation that a divorce could be in the cards between the future first ballot Hall of Famer and his organization.
Since then, rumors have persisted about potential landing spots. Just recently, the San Francisco 49ers were seen as the favorites to land the seven-time Pro Bowler. That makes sense given Jones’ relationship with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan dating back to his days as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator back in 2015 and 2016.
However, two other teams have been bandied about more recently. According to NFL media personality and former quarterback Chris Simms of NBC Sports, Julio Jones has his eyes on two AFC teams in that of the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots.
Both teams could make sense given needs at the wide receiver position. It also makes sense given that Atlanta might push back against trading Jones to an NFC rival such as the 49ers. Of course, it’s all dependent on compensation. In the same NBC Sports report, it was noted that Atlanta could have received a second-round pick for Jones ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
It is said to be holding out for a first-round selection. That’s not going to happen for multiple reasons. Jones, 32, is coming off an injury-plagued 2020 campaign that saw him miss seven games. He’s also set to count $15.3 million against the cap for an acquiring team.
Julio Jones to the New England Patriots?
New England signed wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne during an active free-agent period for the team. However, neither can be seen as a legit No. 1 receiving option for either Cam Newton or rookie Mac Jones. As for Agholor, he’s more suited for the slot. Adding Jones to the mix opposite Bourne on the outside could make a ton of sense in this regard.
Coming off their first losing season since 2000, the Patriots have been attempting to balance a win-now mentality under the aging Bill Belichick and building for the future. Jones would be a prime example of this happy medium. Perhaps, offering up a third-round selection and former first-round pick, wide receiver N’Keal Harry, could move the needle in a trade for Jones.
Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans?
Still looking to contend for an AFC title after bombing out in the playoffs last season, Tennessee lost wide receiver Corey Davis to the New York Jets in free agency. Right now, it doesn’t have a legit starter-caliber option outside of stud youngster A.J. Brown.
Flush with Pro Bowl quarterback Ryan Tannehill under center, an elite-level offensive line and two-time reigning rushing champion Derrick Henry in the backfield, adding Jones to the mix would help Tennessee ascend the ladder in the AFC.
With that said, Titans general manager Jon Robinson has in the past pushed back against blockbuster trades of this ilk. Will he change this MO in order to get Tannehill more help and potentially set Tennessee up for a conference title run in 2021?