Thursday, December 2

Julio Jones trade details: why the Titans traded for the Falcons WR after injury-plagued 2020 season

Julio Jones spent the first 10 years of his career as a member of the Falcons. He was long the number one goal for Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan and ranks number one in team history in total receptions (848) and receiving yards (12,896).

Nonetheless, the Falcons decided before the 2021 NFL season that it was time for the two sides to part ways. Atlanta is preparing for a rebuild under new leadership, coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot, and Jones just didn’t seem to fit in.

Jones was entering his 32-year season in 2021 and was coming off a season during which he missed seven games. The Falcons have 26-year-old Calvin Ridley on their roster and were comfortable with the idea of ​​him serving as number one receiver. The Falcons weren’t shaping up to be a playoff team, so Fontenot and company explored mutually beneficial trade options for both sides.

The Titans emerged as one. Tennessee had a pair of strong-looking offensive weapons in Derrick Henry and AJ Brown, but they needed to make sure they had a third weapon at Ryan Tannehill’s disposal. So, they got into trade talks with the Falcons and eventually made a deal for Jones.

How did the Julio Jones trade happen? What compensation was exchanged in the deal? And is Jones paying for the Titans? Here’s everything you need to know about one of the highest grossing trades that occurred during the 2021 NFL offseason.

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Julio Jones exchange details

  • Titans get: WR Julio Jones, 2023 draft sixth-round pick
  • Hawks get: 2022 second-round draft pick, 2023 fourth-round draft pick

The Titans sent a 2022 second-round pick to the Falcons in exchange for Jones. The veteran catcher came in with a cap of $ 23 million, so Tennessee had to rework some of his contracts to fit Jones under the cap. They had nearly $ 5.4 million in space before trading for Jones.

That included Jones’ contract. He agreed to restructure his deal to open $ 11.2 million in salary cap space for the Titans. This is how they were able to pay Jones while delivering only working capital.

Meanwhile, the Falcons were able to acquire a second-round pick in exchange for a 32-year-old pass receiver who no longer fits their timeline for containment. They soaked up a dead cap hit of $ 7.75 million in 2021 and $ 15.5 million in 2022 after parting ways with Jones.

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Julio Jones Contract

Jones is in the first year of a three-year extension worth $ 66 million. He accepted that deal in 2019 while he was still with the Falcons. That said, the Titans won’t pay as much for Jones, as the Falcons are paying part of Jones’s signing bonus and option bonus, which equates to his $ 23.25 million cap.

As a result, the Titans never have to pay Jones more than $ 14.3 million annually as part of their deal. He is slated to win about $ 38.3 million from the Titans, pending guarantees and incentives. Here’s a full breakdown of his contract with the Titans, for

YearAgeBase salaryProrated bonusGuaranteed salaryCap numberCap %
202132$ 1,300,000$ 2,800,000$ 1,300,000$ 4,100,0002.20%
202233$ 11,513,000$ 2,800,000$ 2,000,000$ 14,313,0006.60%
20233. 4$ 11,513,000$ 2,800,000$ 0$ 14,313,0006.40%
202435Empty$ 2,800,000Empty$ 5,600,0002.20%
202536Empty$ 2,800,000Empty$ 0
Total$ 24,326,000$ 14,000,000$ 3,300,000$ 38,326,000

Two things stand out about Jones’s deal. First, his salary contains few guarantees, so the Titans can part ways with him at any time should he back down. It would be easier to do it before the 2023 NFL season, since at that point there will be no guaranteed money left in your contract.

Second, his contract contains two years of no effect after the 2023 season. So while there is money posted in 2024 and 2025, these empty years, a tool used to allow teams to defer player payouts in the future. , they’re just placeholders the Titans added to defray Jones’ current cost and maximize his cap space. Therefore, Jones will not be officially on the list in 2024 unless he signs a new contract.

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Why the Titans traded Julio Jones

The Titans’ decision to trade Jones had a lot to do with their offseason losses, as Albert Breer from Sports Illustrated detailed.

The Titans lost Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith this offseason, and salary cap circumstances arising from the pandemic forced Tennessee general manager Jon Robinson and coach Mike Vrabel to make other tough roster decisions as well. Landing Jones offered them a chance to cheer on their team with a potential game changer after a tumultuous few months.

That certainly makes sense. Davis, Smith and Adam Humphries combined for 192 goals last season, so the Titans needed someone to step up and absorb those goals. Jones had averaged 156 for every 16 games played at the time of the trade, so it seemed like a nice high-volume compliment to AJ Brown.

Plus, as Mike Vrabel explained, Jones had the skill set the Titans coveted.

“I think this gives a lot of versatility where we can line up the guys and how we function as an offense,” Vrabel said. if. “I’m definitely excited to have it.”

He also helped Jones because he was a veteran. Vrabel envisioned Jones as the key to helping coach the other young receivers on the roster, like Brown.

“There are ways of doing things that veteran players who have been successful in this league can also try to explain to younger players,” Vrabel said. “Sometimes those are your best coaches. I’m sure he can bring some of that.”

In Vrabel’s estimation, Jones’ presence would also open up opportunities for Brown and the other receivers on the team to open up in the passing game.

“Its impact can obviously help a lot of people,” Vrabel said.

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How Julio Jones has done for the Titans so far

Jones has played in just three games during his tenure with the Titans. He has continued to battle lower body injuries, a problem during his time with the Falcons, and was out of action the past two weeks with a hamstring condition.

That said, Jones has recorded 12 receptions for 208 yards while on the field and had a six-catch, 128-yard game for the Titans in their Week 2 win over the Seahawks. He has proven to be effective when on the field and will look to win deeply against the Bills on Monday.

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