It’s not a secret. Julio Jones would make any NFL team better, regardless if that team needs a wide receiver or not.
The Tennessee Titans have been named by many as a favorite to land the two-time All-Pro wide receiver, who, in a seemingly unexpected national television appearance on Monday, said he no longer wants to be a member of the Atlanta Falcons. It’s been rumored for several weeks that the Falcons have been exploring trade partners to free up salary-cap space.
Jones has collected 12,896 receiving yards and 60 touchdowns over his 10 seasons with the Falcons. He would be an obvious upgrade for the Titans, who have few proven receivers outside of A.J. Brown, the 2020 Pro Bowler who has gone over 1,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons.
At the same time, though, adding the seven-time Pro Bowler would negatively impact a handful of other players on offense.
Here is a rundown of players who might not be so happy about a trade for Jones.
Wide receiver Josh Reynolds. The Titans signed Reynolds, who spent four NFL seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, in March. Reynolds believes that he has a bigger opportunity ahead of him with the Titans, and his belief was validated when the Titans waited until day three of the NFL draft to address the position. If the Titans signed Jones, Reynolds would essentially be in the same spot he was in with the Rams, where he was a role player behind the likes of Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and others.
Rookie wide receivers Dez Fitzpatrick and Racey McMath. The Titans couldn’t wait to pick Fitzpatrick in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. They traded multiple draft picks to move up and select the Louisville talent, who figures to compete with Reynolds for the No. 2 receiving spot this summer. The addition of Jones would likely push Fitzpatrick down on the depth chart.
A sixth-round pick by way of LSU, McMath will compete for a roster spot this summer. His chances of making the team -- and contributing as a wide receiver -- would diminish greatly if the Titans trade for Jones. However, McMath could add value as a special teams contributor, as coach Mike Vrabel noted that the “speed and violence” with which he plays stood out to him.
Tight end Anthony Firkser. Firkser is a pass-catching tight end and he often lines up as a slot wide receiver in the Titans offense. He played that position more frequently last season when former Titans wide receiver Adam Humphries was sidelined with a concussion.
Tight end was among the Titans' needs ahead of the NFL Draft, and they did not address it, which means Firkser is in line for an expanded role. With Jones on the roster, though, Reynolds presumably would get the bulk of the snaps in the slot and Firkser’s opportunities to contribute to the pass game would decrease greatly.
Running back Derrick Henry. Make no mistake, Henry is a team player who wants to win above all else. He would welcome Jones, who also was a college teammate at Alabama. In fact, he has already endorsed the possibility on Twitter.
But the reality is, the Titans would have to throw the ball more if they decided to make a move for Jones. You don’t have two No. 1-caliber receivers on the roster only to run the ball exclusively.
While Henry will always be a dynamic talent, game-breaking talent, it’d be hard to envision him winning a third consecutive rushing title or reaching the 2,000-yard milestone again with Jones on the roster.
Simply put, Jones would presumably change – or at least alter – the Titans' offensive identity.