The Tennessee Titans have had an amazing season so far, but they have had to play a lot of games without the crown jewel of their offseason.
Trading for Julio Jones was a no-brainer move at the time and it made a lot of sense for the Titans who let Corey Davis walk in free agency. The idea was that A.J. Brown would be the WR1 and Jones would be an improvement on Davis while also adding more veteran leadership to a Tennessee Titans team that had their eyes focused on the playoffs and beyond.
Right now the Titans fan base is aggravated with the injury situation across the board, but no one has caught more flak for injuries than Julio Jones who has really had one practice all year where he wasn’t listed on the injury report.
Decisions are rarely binary in the NFL, but most Titans fans look back and wonder what would have happened if Tennessee would have re-signed Corey Davis instead of trading for Julio Jones.
Would they be better off?
Did the Tennessee Titans make the right call?
Again, Jones gets a lot of heat for his injuries but don’t forget that Davis has missed at least one game in four out of his five seasons in the NFL. The fact is, it is just hard for receivers to be iron men in the NFL at this point and you don’t see too many receivers who can hold up over the course of the whole season.
Recently Corey Davis was placed on season-ending I.R. to have surgery on a core muscle, meaning that he will finish his season with 34 receptions, 492 yards, and 4 touchdowns.
For comparison’s sake, Julio Jones currently has 21 receptions for 336 yards and no touchdowns (thanks to a terrible call by the refs in Week 2).
If (and it is the biggest “if” in the world) Julio Jones stays healthy for the rest of the season he would be on pace for 39 receptions and 624 yards.
That would mean that Jones was a slight improvement on Davis, but what about the compensation? That really has to be broken down into two conversations, one about money and one about draft picks.
In terms of money, here is how the two stack up:
Julio Jones: Signed through 2023, $12.7 million AAV, $3.3 million guaranteed
Corey Davis: Signed through 2023, $12.5 million AAV, $25 million guaranteed
While Jones makes slightly more per year in AAV, the Titans could restructure his contract or manipulate it in ways to make the cap hit lower considering that he barely has any guaranteed money.
In terms of draft picks, everyone knows that the Titans traded a second-round pick in exchange for Julio Jones and a swap of Day 3 picks (a fourth-round pick from Tennessee for a sixth-round pick from Atlanta). What people don’t mention often is that the Titans will get back a fourth-round compensatory pick for Corey Davis.
So when is all said and done the Titans basically traded a second-round pick for Julio Jones and a sixth-round pick.
The question is, was it all worth it and what fans have to remember is that this deal is just starting to take shape. Julio Jones was always a move that would be heavily influenced by what he did in December and in the playoffs instead of what he did in September.
On top of that, there are still two years left on this contract and we are just starting to see his contributions. A big playoff run would completely turn fans around in support of this move and even though Corey Davis fans might have wanted him to stay, there is a good chance that this move is an improvement at the position both in terms of production, upside, and consistency.