While it's hard to believe every rumor heard about Atlanta Falcons future Hall of Fame receiver Julio Jones these days, there have been multiple reports that Jones has his eyes specifically on being traded to two teams: The Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots. The Falcons are known to prefer to send Jones to the AFC as well. Should Jones land with the Titans, the SportsLine Projection Model would shift them to slight favorites over the Indianapolis Colts to win the AFC South.
ESPN's Dianna Russini reported today that there's a "sense" around the league that Jones could be traded "as early as next week." That's not a shock as starting June 2 the Falcons would gain more financial benefits from dealing Jones than before that date.
Titans QB Ryan Tannehill lost a lot of pass-catching weapons this offseason via free agency in wideouts Corey Davis (65 catches, 984 yards, five TDs) and Adam Humphries (23 catches, 228 yards, two TDs) and tight end Jonnu Smith (41 catches, 448 yards, eight TDs).
Tennessee has an excellent No. 1 receiver in AJ Brown (70 catches, 1,075 yards, 10 TDs) but not much behind him. The team did sign former Los Angeles Ram Josh Reynolds in free agency and traded up to select Louisville's Dez Fitzpatrick in the fourth round of the draft. The other options at receiver? This rather anonymous group: Cam Batson, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Marcus Johnson, Chester Rogers, Racey McMath, Cody Hollister, Fred Brown and Kalija Lipscomb.
Brown is trying to recruit Jones to Nashville, posting a message on Instagram that read: "Trust me, if you want to carry the load, you can carry it, but if you get tired, you know I can carry you." He also tweeted: "I would give up #11 if this happens. Playing alongside my idol would be crazy. No team is stopping this!!!" Star running back Derrick Henry and offensive tackle Taylor Lewan also have made social pleas for Jones.
The 32-year-old Jones has a fully guaranteed salary of $15.3 million in 2021, and the Titans have only about $3.5 million of cap space as of this writing (fifth-fewest in the NFL).
William Hill Sportsbook lists the Titans as +120 second favorites to win the AFC South behind the Colts (+100). The Titans have an Over/Under win total of 9.5, with the Colts at 10.
The SportsLine Projection Model (see below), however, would essentially flip the Colts and Titans in the division should the Jones trade happen, giving Tennessee a win total of 10.1 with Jones and jumping from a 40.7 percent shot to win the AFC South to 50 percent (which is +100). The Titans' playoff chances would rise nearly 10 percent from 62.3 to 72.2.
Tennessee doesn't play the Falcons in the 2021 regular season, but the teams do open the preseason against one another on Aug. 13 in Atlanta.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Julio Jones' next team
- Patriots +250
- 49ers +300
- Titans +400
- Raiders +600
- Ravens +700
- Chargers +900
- Colts +1000
- Packers +1200
- Dolphins +1400
- Jaguars +1500
- Cowboys +2000
|w/ Julio Jones||10.1||59.40%||50.00%||72.20%||9.40%||4.70%|
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