Falcons trade proposal
This is the big one. I want to ask you a question before I talk about this: Who is the Atlanta Falcons WR1 heading into this offseason?
Julio Jones: 114 receptions, 1,607 yards, 14.1 yards per reception, 6 TDs
Calvin Ridley: 92 receptions, 1,351 yards, 14.7 yards per reception, 11 TDs
Julio is getting more volume, but Ridley has been more efficient when targetted and he has been nearly twice as productive scoring touchdowns.
I’m not saying that Julio isn’t good, but we all need to see what is going on in Atlanta right now. The Falcons are facing an opportunity to get a new head coach and GM after cleaning the house.
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Jones is scheduled to make 13% of the cap next year and have a $23 million cap hit at 32 years old. He has missed more time in the last 21 games than he did in the 90 games before that.
The building blocks of that offense for the next three years are most likely going to be Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley, and Jake Matthews who are still going to be in their prime. If you are a GM or HC, you have to come into this situation knowing that you have two or three years to perform or show improvement.
Atlanta is going to $23 million over the cap next season and this is an easy fix for that problem and it immediately takes a major decision off of the plate of the next GM. And yes, you do lose Julio Jones and that is going to hurt, but Falcons fans, owners, and coaches need to look to Julio’s classmate A.J. Green and see how things are going there before they die on this hill.
Now that we know why the Falcons would trade him, let’s talk about why the Titans would want him.
It is no secret that A.J. Brown is a huge fan of Julio Jones and he has been going back to his days in high school watching Julio Jones at Alabama. If there is any receiver in the NFL who Brown would defer his alpha status to, it is Jones.
Jones has been banged up, but there is no doubt that he is productive between the 20s, and over the last two years he has the 4th most yards in the NFL behind Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, and Amari Cooper. Pretty good company.
Having A.J. Brown and Julio Jones under contract for through 2023 and 2024 respectively, give the Titans the breathing room to focus purely on defense in this next draft because the only starters they are projected to lose in free agency are Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis (and they would tag Smith before letting him walk).
It also helps that Jones had his only two All-Pro seasons in 2015 and 2016 when Kyle Shanahan was the OC and the Falcons were using a similar offense to what the Titans run now.
The fit makes sense, the short and long-term needs are there, and the only question the Titans should have is, “how much would it cost?”
Can the Falcons stomach cutting his contract in half for a 1st round pick that helps get them under the cap in 2021 and helps add talent to a roster that is still really good?
And can the Titans stomach trading for that contract and losing a first-round pick? Is Jon Robinson willing to make a massive move like that if it helps the team now and long term?