As Julio Jones seemingly edges closes towards the exit door with the Atlanta Falcons, Jeff Reinebold has pinpointed the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans as ideal landing spots for the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver.
Jones’ future in Atlanta recently came to the forefront when he claimed he was ‘outta there’ during a phone call with Hall of Famer and ‘Undisputed’ co-host Shannon Sharpe, during which it was unclear whether or not he knew he was live on television.
It was subsequently reported that Jones had requested a trade from the team months ago, ESPN’s Dianna Russini later adding that the Falcons have a first-round draft pick on the table.
Should Jones stay put, he will account for a $23.1m cap hit for a Falcons team that currently has $337,851 in cap space (30th in the league), according to Over The Cap. If the 32-year-old is traded after June 1, Atlanta will be saving themselves the $15.3m he is due for the 2021 campaign.
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Given their financial needs, the Falcons appear ready to part with one of their prized assets.
“It seems like this is not an acrimonious deal, it’s not like they’re at loggerheads and they’re throwing barbs at one another, I think this is something the Falcons would like to accommodate and they’d like to accommodate his desire to go to a winner,” said Reinebold on Inside the Huddle.
“You say, okay who has that kind of cap space or can create that kind of cap space and is on the cusp of the Super Bowl? Now you’re talking about like eight teams in the league. I don’t know if I put the Patriots in that marker, but they’ve done an awful lot this offseason to improve themselves and certainly, he would be a great get for them with their huge need at receiver.
“You talk about Indianapolis, Tennessee, I think Green Bay makes a lot of sense because would that be the piece that would make Aaron Rodgers believe the Packers are serious about not just getting to the Super Bowl but serious about him and his wishes to have more around him and Davante Adams?”
Titans wide receiver AJ Brown has made no secret of his desire to see Jones join him in Nashville, posting a video on social media pitching a potential move to Tennessee by underlining the talent of quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry.
Julio to Tennessee now! pic.twitter.com/ixZNV7fApB
Brown led the Titans with 70 catches for 1,075 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2020, before seeing his receiving partner Corey Davis, who posted 65 receptions for 984 yards and five scores, sign with the New York Jets in free agency.
Tennessee also lost tight end Jonnu Smith to the New England Patriots in free agency after he provided eight touchdown catches in 2020, and Adam Humphries was picked up by Washington following his release. Former Los Angeles Rams receiver Josh Reynolds was later signed to a one-year deal, before the Titans selected LSU receiver Racey McMath in the sixth round of the Draft.
“To me, Tennessee would be a great landing spot for him because they’ve got good young receivers there,” added Reinebold. “This is a pro’s pro, this is guy that by all accounts has really done a great job of preparing himself, his body, all the things you would want with a veteran player.
“And the Titans are very very close I think, I really believe that is a very good football team. It will be interesting too that he and King Henry (Derrick Henry) work out together, both Alabama grads and they worked out together and you know how that goes when you’ve got a relationship particularly with a star player on another team.”
[email protected]_11 has his first TD of the season! #RiseUpATL
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?: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/nrm6deI4Td pic.twitter.com/9PAtRKgjWF
Jones is coming off something of a down year having managed just 51 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns in nine games, following on from six successive 1,000-yard seasons across which he missed just four games, led the league twice in receiving yards and three times in receiving yards per game.
Though he turned 32 in February, Reinebold has no doubts over his ability to assist a Championship contender.
“Whoever is going to get him is going to do a great job of managing his body through training camp,” he said. “He doesn’t need a million reps to get ready to play. You talk about a presence on the field, his size and his strength and you talk about how dynamic AJ Brown is on one side, you put that kind of size and strength on the other side.
“He’s a guy too that for all the years he’s been WR1 in Atlanta, you watch him play when the ball’s not coming to him, you watch him block in the run game, you watch him do all the little things that a pro should do.
“I think he would be a great addition for a number of teams, but obviously if you’re on that Super Bowl cusp and in the window, you’ve got to get as many talented players around you as you can get.”
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