NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On the first day of May, the Tennessee Titans selected two wide receivers to address their most immediate need. Tennessee is now the betting favourite to land Julio Jones, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Right now, the Titans are +175 to make the transaction. The New England Patriots (+500) and the Atlanta Falcons (+250) round out the Top 3.
Vegas’ revised odds come on the heels of Jones’ Monday appearance on FS1’s Undisputed. When Shannon Sharpe called Jones in the middle of the programme, Jones stated, “I’m outta there.” The legality of not informing Jones that he was live on the air until later in the phone discussion is up for debate. Despite this, the viral video has stirred receiver-hungry fan bases like Tennessee into a frenzy.
Julio Jones isn’t expected to be dealt until June 2nd at the earliest.
The Titans and any other NFL team interested in Jones will have to wait until that date arrives.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Jones requested a trade out of Atlanta months ago. The opportunity for the Falcons to really complete a deal with Tennessee or another team doesn’t open until June 2. If Jones is dealt after June 1, Atlanta can defer a $15.5 million dead salary cap hit until 2022.
Terry Fontenot, the new general manager, needs to make this move. Only the New Orleans Saints ($349,000) have less space available under the Top 51 contracts cap than the Falcons ($357,000).
The Titans aren’t in much better financial shape. With approximately $3.90 million in cap space as of Monday, May 24, Tennessee is the eighth most cap-strapped team in the league.
The question remains: what is the fair market value for a 32-year-old receiver who only appeared in nine games last season? Adding his salary and cap hit would need a rework of at least one current player’s contract.
What impact would a trade have on the Titans’ current receiving corps?
There’s little doubt Jones’ addition would improve the Titans’ passing game right away.
Tennessee has 12 wide receivers on the roster right now. Derrick Henry, a non-receiving back, is the only player not named A.J. Brown or Anthony Firkser who has more than 15 receptions (19). The Titans are one Brown injury away from having the worst receiving unit in the NFL without Jones.
The potential signing of Jones also allows Tennessee free agent Josh Reynolds to be more comfortable in his new role.
The Titans’ lack of slot receiver options has gotten a lot of attention. Reynolds can move into the spot where he was predominantly featured for the Los Angeles Rams in 2020 now that Jones has joined the fold (178 slot snaps, 8 receptions, 118 yard, 1 TD). Last season, Tennessee PR reported that the squad returned 57 receptions from the slot (lost 47 receptions). Last season, Corey Davis saw more time in the slot than any other Titans wide receiver. Reynolds is the most likely candidate for his part.
The names of players who will return to Tennessee in 2021 are bolded.