Three Ideal Landing Spots for Julio Jones

The Atlanta Falcons organization sounds intrigued about shipping star receiver Julio Jones, 32, out of town if the right deal is sent to general manager Terry Fontenot.

From 2014-2019, Julio Jones led the league in receiving twice, posting 1,300+ yards in both seasons.

Out of ten seasons in the NFL, Jones produced only three years with sub-1,000 yards in receiving totals, including his rookie year, when he had 959 yards.

The 30s may not be a welcoming decade for many skill players around the league, but Julio Jones’ production — outside of a 2020 campaign stunted by a nagging hamstring injury — remains a non-issue, as Atlanta’s top receiver still runs a quick route and has the athletic 6’3” frame to snatch the ball out of the air before a DB can look up.

With the emerging Calvin Ridley and newly drafted Kyle Pitts out of Florida, the urgency of keeping Jones in Atlanta is not as dire as it would’ve been two or three years ago. 

Ridley finished the season fourth in total receiving yards among wide receivers, and Kyle Pitts’ prospect as a tight end selected No. 4 overall means Arthur Smith and the offense may be leaning a little less on Jones for receiving stats. 

Smith’s previous success utilizing tight ends such as Jonnu Smith will provide an interesting TE opportunity for both Pitts and Hayden Hurst to fit in the offensive game plan. Pitts’ versatility as a pass-catcher could also push the tight end to a wide receiver spot.

Rumors continue to spread regarding where Julio Jones may end up, and there are a number of teams dipping into the conversation.

Here are three teams that should make the trade for Julio Jones:

Green Bay Packers

If a single move could mend the relationship between Brian Gutekunst and Aaron Rodgers during their ongoing drama, it’s trading for Julio Jones.

Packers fans insist that Pro Bowl receiver Davante Adams and secondary names like Marquez Valdes-Scantling are “good enough” talent to keep Rodgers from leaving Wisconsin for better players. Adams’ numbers certainly back the narrative, but the Rodgers-Packers storyline wouldn’t so frequently mention the need to draft receivers if Rodgers were truly satisfied with his offensive depth chart. Rodgers has been the eyes, limbs, mind, and everything in between for the Packers’ offense. 

A trade for Julio Jones would be an ideal situation for the veteran Falcons receiver who is eager to re-enter the playoff picture. It would also be a good way to close out Rodgers’ tenure with the team rather than trading the quarterback away for mild value in first round picks and Teddy Bridgewater.

Tennessee Titans

Reigning champs of the AFC South, the Tennessee Titans, led by Ryan Tannehill and Mike Vrabel, hope to build off of the franchise’s recent revival by adding talent to an offensive unit that features Derrick Henry and that could once again be a legitimate AFC playoff contender.

The glaring issue for the team is Tennessee’s defensive unit, ranked 28th in total defense. They surrendered an average of nearly 398.3 yards per game to opposing teams. The Tennessee offensive scheme, which is plainly outscoring teams that their defense can’t stop, continues to be a crutch for Tennessee, as emerging players such as receiver AJ Brown climb up the ranks. Brown finished the year with 1,075 yards receiving, great numbers for a No. 2 receiver with the slot for No. 1 still vacant. Add Julio Jones to the mix, and Tannehill’s efficiency on the field will surely lead to better offensive totals.

The move would also help keep rookie offensive coordinator Todd Downing afloat after taking on play calling duties post-Arthur Smith, who is now the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. 

The physical specimen that is Derrick Henry recently made a pitch to the Falcons receiver, warmly inviting him to Tennessee. 

Los Angeles Chargers

In the immediate future, the Chargers should focus on developing Justin Herbert into a franchise QB after his impressive ROY campaign.

Going into the draft, analysts associated with the Chargers discussed drafting a receiver. No. 2 receiver Mike Williams serves as a credible threat down the field, but he’s still too limited by injuries.

With tight end Hunter Henry’s departure for New England, Herbert’s security blanket down the middle could lead to regression in play as green receivers like Jalen Guyton and Tre McKitty continue to develop. Jared Cook joins the receiving corps as the No. 1 tight end, which should still provide serviceable yards through the air.

Julio Jones and Keenan Allen (992 yards, 8 TDs) as a tandem for Justin Herbert and the Chargers’ offense would be the type of offensive talent that the LA team needs to defeat divisional opponents, especially the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers also look to join the playoff conversation, boasting one of the best rosters in the league.

Written by Alejandro Avila

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