The list of suitors for Julio Jones’ services is growing by the day, but for now, the Tennessee Titans have reportedly emerged as the frontrunner for the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver.
While the Atlanta Falcons by no means have to trade Jones, several reports have stated the organization is warming up to trading the veteran wideout for a second-round pick. And according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the Titans are the presumed frontrunner to land Jones.
“In league circles, the current expectation is that, eventually, the Falcons will send Jones to the Titans for a second-round pick,” Florio said. “…This is simply a reflection of the current thinking among folks in the know about where this is all likely to end up.”
Over the weekend, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Baltimore Ravens would look into a trade for Jones if the price was right, and ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported the Seattle Seahawks have had discussions with the Falcons about a potential Jones trade as well.
While Russini previously reported the Falcons had a trade offer on the table that included, in exchange, a first-round pick, that seems unlikely for two reasons. If that truly were the case, Atlanta surely would have pulled the trigger on that trade by now, and a first rounder is an awfully steep price to pay for a 32-year-old receiver who is due $15.3 million in 2021 and $11.5 million in 2022 and 2023.
Tennessee appears to make the most sense as a landing spot for Jones for a number of reasons. Falcons head coach Arthur Smith already has an established relationship with the Titans, who are in win-now mode and probably willing to part with draft capital more easily than most franchises.
Tennessee has a desperate need for a No. 2 receiver behind A.J. Brown, and GM Jon Robinson can easily free up salary cap space for Jones by converting $23 million of Ryan Tannehill’s 2021 salary into a bonus and pushing some of his guaranteed money to be dispersed over the next two years.
According to BetOnline, the Titans have the second-best odds (+200) of trading for Jones, right behind the Seattle Seahawks (+150).
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_