Our friends at Falcon Report continue to report on the aftermath of the Julio Jones trade to Tennessee, which extends well beyond the statistics that go with being an All-Pro wide receiver.
The former Alabama standout was the face of the franchise along with quarterback Matt Ryan, who may not have much time left with the Falcons, either.
It's a role that Jones had certainly held and deserved. He's almost certainly destined for Pro Football Hall of Fame, and has led the league in receiving twice, with 1,871 and 1,677 yards in 2015 and 2018, respectively. It's led to twice being named All-Pro and eight Pro Bowl invitations.
But now Jones will be burning defenses with the Titans, who only had to give up a 2022 second-round draft pick and a 2023 fourth-round selection to the Falcons. Along with Jones, the Falcons will send a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Titans.
What the Falcons got in return is more indicative of Jones' age, 32, than his ability.
In 2011, they took him sixth in the draft after moving up from No. 27. To get Jones, Cleveland got Atlanta's first- second- and fourth-round picks in 2011, along with the Falcons' first and fourth-round picks in the 2012 draft.
The Browns turned around and selected defensive lineman Phil Taylor, fullback Owen Marecic, and quarterback Brandon Weeden. They packaged one of the picks in 2012 to trade up for former Alabama running back Trent Richardson.
Based on their production, Atlanta clearly got the better end of that deal.
However, the Falcons painted themselves into a salary-cap corner, partly due to the 2019 extension it gave Jones, three years for $66 million,
So who takes over that leadership role, in addition to being the player the franchise puts on billboards and the cover of the media guide?
The top defensive candidate has to be defensive lineman Grady Jarrett.
"I think it's Grady by default, because of the stuff he's doing here in the community and he's entrenched himself as a Falcons being from here, playing here, it has to be Grady," says Hugh Douglas, speaking on the subject with John Fricke on "The Game.''
On offense, the Falcons will eventually have to acquire the quarterback of the future as Ryan is 36, but otherwise the frontrunner is likely another former Crimson Tide wide receiver, Calvin Ridley.
But that's the thing about winning over teammates and an organization. It has to be earned ...
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