The Julio Jones saga has ended as the Falcons have traded one of the best players in history and the NFL's all-time leading receiver in yards per game, Julio Jones, to the Titans for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick. Atlanta also will send a 2023 sixth-round pick. The deal has jumped the Titans into a +110 co-favored role at William Hill Sportsbook with the Colts to win the AFC South. The teams finished with identical 11-5 records last year but Tennessee won the division via tiebreaker. The SportsLine Projection Model (see below) slightly favors the Titans now in the division.
The deal isn't final yet as Jones has to pass a physical. Several players on the Titans – and other teams -- had been recruiting Jones on social media. Tennessee is one of the most run-heavy teams in the NFL with two-time rushing king Derrick Henry, so while this may not do wonders for Jones from a Fantasy Football perspective it fills a need. The club lost wideouts Corey Davis (65 catches, 984 yards, five TDs) and Adam Humphries (23 catches, 228 yards, two TDs) and tight end Jonny Smith (41 catches, 448 yards, eight TDs) this offseason.
While the 32-year-old Jones has reached double-digit TD catches just once in his career (2012), his 95.5 yards receiving per game rank first by a wide margin in league history, with Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson of the Lions second at 86.1. Over the past 10 seasons, Jones leads the NFL with 58 games of at least 100 yards receiving. The Titans as a whole have 50 over that stretch. They have zero 200-yard games; Jones has three.
To win Super Bowl 56, the Titans improved from +3500 to +3000 and to win the AFC from +1800 to +1500 at William Hill. Tennessee's win total stayed at 9.5 but shifted from the Over as a +140 underdog to a -130 favorite. Via the model, though, the Titans improve from 9.5 wins to 10.1.
What number will Jones wear with the Titans? Top receiver A.J. Brown considers Jones his idol and was one of the players recruiting him and had offered Jones his No. 11 if he came to the team. However, Brown recanted after being told he couldn't have No. 1, which has been retired for Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon – although he never played for the Titans but the Houston Oilers (and a few other teams).
Had Tennessee exercised the fifth-year rookie option on Davis' contract, it would have cost it $15.68 million. Jones' 2021 salary is $15.3 million. The Titans will assume all of that and Jones has two years left on his deal. The Falcons assume $7.75 million in dead money but cleared enough salary-cap space to sign all their draft picks.
From a Falcons perspective, this could be a Fantasy Football boon for No. 4 overall pick Kyle Pitts. He played tight end at Florida but is expected to also be used as a wideout in the NFL. Calvin Ridley becomes the no-doubt No. 1 guy at receiver now. He broke out last year with 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine scores. None of the Falcons' futures odds changed with this deal via William Hill, but their win total via the model dropped from 8.9 to 8.5.
The Titans and Falcons, who are now coached by former Tennessee offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, don't play in the 2021 regular season but do open the preseason vs. one another in Atlanta on Aug. 13. Highly unlikely Jones plays in that game as starters rarely do in the preseason opener.
Tennessee had closed as the +200 favorite via SportsLine oddsmakers to be Jones' next team, followed by New England, Seattle and San Francisco.
|w/ Julio Jones||10.1||59.40%||50.00%||72.20%||9.40%||4.70%|
|w/ Julio Jones||8.9||52.40%||13.10%||43.60%||3.20%||1.30%|
|w/o Julio Jones||8.5||50.00%||9.70%||34.90%||2.10%||0.70%|
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