Julio Jones Traded to the Titans – How Will This Impact the 2021 NFL Season?

By Anthony Haage in Sports
| June 9, 2021 10:57 am PDT

Julio Jones has been one of the best receivers in the league since he was drafted 6th overall by the Falcons in 2011.

The two-time NFL receiving yards leader (2015, 2018) has been mentioned in trade rumors around the league the past couple of weeks or so, and the Titans appear to be the winners of the sweepstakes.

Jones joins a prolific offense with superstar-level talents in Derrick Henry and A.J Brown. The Titans finished 4th in the league in points scored and now they add one of the most talented receivers in the league to their already stellar offense.

Julio Jones’ Stats

In Jones’ 11th season, he will no longer be in the familiar jersey of the Atlanta Falcons. Getting used to seeing him in Titan blue will take a while to get used to, but Julio will not have to get used to being his usual self.

Julio has had very productive seasons throughout his career with his best year coming in 2015. That year Julio accumulated for a whopping 136 catches for 1,871 yards (an NFL record) along with 8 touchdowns.

  • Of his 10 years in the NFL, Julio has reached over 1,000 yards in 7 out of 10 years
  • In 5 of those 10 years, he had more than 1,400.
  • He almost reached 1,400 once more but fell 6 yards short of that mark in 2019.

Julio is somewhat of an oddity when it comes to scoring touchdowns. You would think a player of his caliber would be putting up huge touchdown totals, but he has only scored double-digit touchdowns in 1 out of 10 seasons.

He averages a steady 6 touchdowns a year, but the 6’3 wide receiver should’ve had more. For some reason, the Falcons never really utilized his large frame in the red zone as they should have.

Julio only had 1 target when the Falcons were inside the 10-yard line last season, and only 8 targets within the 20-yard line.

He only scored 3 times last year in 9 games, but all three scores came from outside the red zone.

In 2019, Julio got way more opportunities in the red zone. Given he played 6 more games, but he got 8 targets within the opponent’s 10-yard line and turned that into 5 of his 6 total touchdowns on the year.

A lot of people think that since Julio is 32 and “injury prone,” that the Titans made the wrong move. Julio has only had two seasons where he missed a significant number of games. He missed 11 games in 2013 and 7 games last season.

Besides those two seasons, Julio has played in 121 of 128 total games, which comes out to him only missing about one game a year. The 7-time Pro Bowler is no joke and is worth more than a 2nd and 4th round pick.

Julio has a proven resume and with the Titans planning to compete now, they made the right move. The future hall of famer will also not be relied on as heavily as he was in Atlanta, as the Titans have multiple options to go to.

Julio may not put up his best career years in Tennessee, but the Titans offense is going to be dangerous and one of the hardest offenses to stop
in the entire NFL.

What the Trade Means for the Titans

The Titans got away with highway robbery. The 4th round pick they gave up won’t be drafted for another 2 years and Julio is proven himself to be worth one or not multiple first-round picks.

Julio is under contract for another 3 years and his cap hit is an average of $12,775,333 per year. He will now join A.J Brown and Derrick Henry as the top weapons in Tennessee, as Ryan Tannehill runs the show at quarterback.

The Titans now can attack defenses through a heavy-run attack or a heavy-pass attack. This will open more opportunities for everyone on the offense, as defenses will have to choose who to focus on between the three-headed monster that now roams the AFC South.

What the Trade Means for the Falcons

All signs point to the Falcons falling into a rebuild.

With one of the most talented receivers in the league no longer on their roster, they have clearly stated that they don’t plan on competing at a high level this year.

The amount and quality of draft picks seems to be short of what was imagined when Julio Jones was brought up in trade rumors.

It seems odd how we routinely see first rounders sent away for moving up in the draft, but once we have a proven talent in the league, they don’t cost even one first rounder.

An even weirder act by the Falcons, is that they selected Kyle Pitts with the 4th overall selection. The Falcons offense would have featured Calvin Ridley, Julio Jones, and Pitts in the passing game.

But the Falcons opted to trade Julio for picks when they could have selected a talented quarterback to take over the reins once Matt Ryan’s time comes to an end.

The Falcons have tough competition for their division race, as the Bucs and Saints stand in their way. More and more Falcons veterans may be traded as the season goes on.

What the Trade Means for the AFC South

It looks like the AFC South will be a two-way race between the Titans and the Colts.

The Colts have a strong defense and have a new quarterback in Carson Wentz. The Titans don’t have as strong a defense as the Colts, but their offense is going to be on another level.

This division race will come down to Wentz’s play as the new QB in town, while the Texans don’t seem to know what is going on with their franchise quarterback.

The Jaguars are young behind Trevor Lawrence and new head coach Urban Meyer, so I don’t expect them to be able to put up a strong fight for the division race until a year or two down the road.

What the Trade Means for the NFC South

The NFC South was already going to be the Bucs to lose, as they retained all of their starters from last year’s Super Bowl victory.

Drew Brees’ retirement leaves the Saints in question and the Panthers seem to have a couple years to go in their rebuild. Current odds are as follows.

  • The Bucs are favorites at odds of -190
  • The Saints are at +310
  • The Falcons are at +700
  • The Panthers come in at +1200

Who Won the Trade?

Until the Falcons draft picks are selected and play a significant amount of time, this is a win for the Titans.

Since the Falcons return on Jones comes at 2nd and 4th round picks, it will be hard to replace his value. The Titans made a great move here to acquire Jones and now have one of the most dangerous offense’s in the NFL.

The only thing that will make this a win for the Falcons is if they draft remarkably well at those selected picks and have young players to build around in the coming years.

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