Sunday morning, the Atlanta Falcons traded star wide receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans, pending the results of a physical. The Falcons will receive Tennessee’s 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round selection. The Falcons will also receive a 2023 sixth-round pick.

The Titans will take on $15.3 million of Jones’s salary this year, and the remainder of his deal. Meanwhile the Falcons will have $7.75 million in dead money in their salary cap for the 2021 season. The Titans are currently negotiating a restructuring of Jones’ contract. According to Spotrac, Tennessee needs to free up over $9 million to make the trade financially viable for this season. The Titans are also working to re-negotiate the $19.263 million in ‘22 and 23 owed to Jones.

A 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, Jones has 848 catches, tallied 12,896 receiving yards and 60 touchdowns in his 10-year career. He’s caught over 100 passes in three different seasons, and he had at least 80 catches and 1,300 yards in every year from 2014-19, with an average of 104 receptions for 1,565 yards during that time period.

“Julio Jones will always be part of the Falcons story, having set numerous records and creating many great memories for all our fans, including me, since the day we drafted him,” said Atlanta Falcons owner and chairman, Arthur M. Blank. “He has been a fixture on our team for almost half the time I have owned the Falcons. As we both move in another direction, I’m deeply grateful for what Julio has done for our team and what he has meant to our city and, in my mind, he will always be part of the Falcons family. I wish him nothing but the best in Tennessee and throughout his life.”

Because the Falcons traded Jones after June 1, Atlanta now has $15.3 million in salary-cap space and have room to sign their rookie class.

Jones requested a trade in February, after it became clear to him the new general manager, Terry Fontenot and new head coach, former Tennessee offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, were looking to take the Falcons in a new direction. Fontenot knowing the Falcons were in a tough cap situation, they made their bet to keep quarterback Matt Ryan and would be willing to listen to Jones’s trade demands. However, there were no takers during the NFL Draft, knowing that Atlanta had cap issues, and there was no secret around the NFL.

“We knew when we stepped into this we were going to have to make some tough decisions because it’s just the reality of it,” Fontenot said. “That’s where we are with the salary cap. So, we have to make some difficult decisions, so we have to look at all the different options and all the different scenarios.”

Jones made it clear he wanted to be the final piece to a puzzle on a championship-caliber team.

The Titans, based on the not-so-secretive campaigning of running back Derrick Henry and wide receiver AJ Brown, became the front runners for Jones’s services. At least on social media. However, Titans GM Jon Robinson began talking with the Falcons three weeks ago regarding a trade.

The Titans were keen on adding talent on the perimeter after the departures of wide receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith.

“Julio is a highly respected player in the league,” said Titans General Manager Jon Robinson. “We have guys who have relationships with him and know how important team is to him. Glad they are fired up to add him.

Robinson continued, “Julio Jones can run the full route tree, long, really good size, strong w ball in his hands, can still push field vertically, willing to dig out LB or safety, competitive fire/spirit, and smart.”

Jones departs as the Falcons’ all-time leader in 100-yard games (57), single-season receptions (136) and receiving yards (1,871) as well as the single-game record for receiving yards (300). With an average of 95.5 receiving yards per game through 135 career games, Jones ranks first in NFL history, topping Calvin Johnson’s previous record of 86.1 receiving yards per game.


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones waves to the fans inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium after an NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, November 27, 2017. (Photo by: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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