Julio Jones is currently on the trade block and teams are obviously rather interested in acquiring his services. The narrative of why the All-Pro is on his way out changed yesterday when Jones told Shannon Sharpe he was "out of Atlanta" during Undisputed and follow-up insider reports said Jones was the one who initiated this process. He doesn't see Atlanta winning a title anytime soon, so he wants to be traded to a contender.
The number of teams who are ready to do that next season and also have the motivation and means to pry Jones away from the Falcons is a fairly short list. Jones, however, reportedly has his eyes on two destinations: Tennessee and New England. From Pro Football Talk:
The Falcons were indeed looking for a first-round pick for Jones when they tried to arrange a pre-draft, post-June 1 trade for Jones. The pick would have changed hands in 2022 at the earliest, since the Falcons want to wait until June 2 to finalize the deal, for cap reasons. As we understand it, they could have gotten a second-round pick at that time — without paying any of his salary. They declined.
Now, things have changed. Teams that may have been interested devoted first- or second-round picks on receivers. Now, they’ve moved on.
So who’s interested now? [Chris] Simms said on PFT Live that Jones has his eyes on the Titans and Patriots. Do they have their eyes on him?
It seems Jones has a good idea of what realistic destinations would look like for him. The best teams in both conferences either don't have the capital or the need to give up what the Falcons would want in return. Both the Patriots and Titans are in a weird middle ground where, on paper, they look good enough to compete for division titles but a deep playoff run would surprise everybody. Adding Jones into the mix could change that equation quite a bit.
The Titans lost Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis in free agency, which means opposing defenses will key in on A.J. Brown more than ever. He's probably good enough to handle regular bracket coverage and still contribute to winning efforts, but having Jones out there alongside him would make life even more difficult for opposing defenses last year. It would open up the entire offense.
The Patriots, meanwhile, overhauled their pass-catching group but their biggest acquisitions were two tight ends. The receiving corps still leaves a lot to be desired; Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne currently reign atop the depth chart. That's fine, but it would be very much worth it for New England to burn a draft pick in order to add Jones to the mix.
This is the second time the Patriots have been linked directly to Jones via an insider report. On Saturday, NBC Sports Boston suggested Jones wants to come play with Cam Newton, and NFL Network's Mike Girardi followed that up by saying Jones has been discussed within the organization. Bill Belichick has all of his future draft picks to work with and Jones would elevate the offense to another level entirely. It would be worth it-- the question is, as always, about what the Pats would have to give up.