Does Julio Jones Trade Make Tennessee Titans Legit AFC Contenders?

Does Julio Jones Trade Make Tennessee Titans Legit AFC Contenders?

Nick Pedone
3 years ago
2 min read

The Atlanta Falcons traded away future Hall of Fame wideout Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans for a a 2022 second-round draft pick and a 2023 fourth-round selection.

The Titans are now the favorite to win the AFC South, despite Carson Wentz's arrival in Indianapolis and Trevor Lawrence's selection in Jacksonville.

However, the AFC is completely stacked. It will remain an uphill battle for Tennessee to take the throne from Kansas City. Buffalo, Baltimore and Cleveland also stand in Tennessee's way.

Julio Jones Addition

There's no arguing that adding Julio Jones makes Tennessee's offense legitimate enough to make a real push. The issue is, offense was not their problem in 2020.

The Titans were third in the NFL offensively but 28th in total defense.

Pairing Jones with A.J. Brown, Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill should be enough for coach Mike Vrabel to give opposing defenses nightmares. Brown exploded onto the scene last season, catching 70 balls for 1,075 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is now justifiably claiming that Julio's presence will only enhance his playmaking ability.

Despite this addition, Tennessee lost Corey Davis, who finished 2020 with 984 yards and five touchdowns. In comparison, newcomer Jones only had 771 yards with three touchdowns and turned 32 years old in February.

Vrabel will need to understand that this offense depends on the legs of Henry. Abandoning the ground game that features NFL's back-to-back rushing champion in favor of an air-raid attack by Tannehill because of an aging Jones would be a massive mistake.

Titans Still Punching Upwards

Despite adding Bud Dupree and Janoris Jenkins in free agency, the Titans will still struggle to stop the high-powered offenses that the AFC has to offer.

Sure, they are legitimate playoff contenders now and are rightfully favored to win their division. They will score a ton of points while doing so. But adding an aging, declining Jones will not move the needle enough to compete with the big favorites.

The 2020 Titans finished with an 11-5 record and a Wild Card exit against the Baltimore Ravens where they were only able to put up 13 points.

Despite an impressive victory against the Buffalo Bills early in the season, Tennessee continually had to try and outscore opponents. This meant that if their offense was off, they were losing, like what happened against the Bengals and Packers.

The Verdict

There's no doubting that this trade made Tennessee better. 

Giving up a second-round pick and a future mid-round selection for a wide receiver whose next stop should be Canton feels like a no-brainer.

However, taking on that salary, matched with some big question marks defensively, the Titans will likely find themselves in a familiar position in 2021. 

At some point, you have to stop your opponent from scoring and as great as he is, Julio Jones cannot do that.

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