In exchange for Jones, the Titans will send 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.
The deal is pending a physical, the Titans said.
“Excited to add Julio to the football team. He’s excited to be part of what we’ve got going on in Nashville. It’s a big day for our team,” Titans general manager Jon Robinson told reporters Sunday.
Robinson said talks picked up Saturday before the two teams agreed to terms Sunday. Besides Jones passing a physical, Robinson said the Titans also have work to do to fit Jones’ contract under their salary cap. Robinson indicated that would likely be through restructuring contracts and not cutting players.
Robinson said that once he became aware Jones was available, he and the team’s coaches started to evaluate his potential fit with the Titans.
“He’s big, he’s fast, he’s tough, he’s great with the ball in his hands, a willing blocker. I think a lot of things that we ask of our receivers … get open, catch and block — he certainly checks those boxes and has done it at a high level in the National Football League,” he said.
Titans players Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown have expressed on social media their interest in having Jones as a teammate. Late last month, Brown posted a TikTok video to Jones explaining why the Titans would be the perfect fit for the star receiver.
Several Titans players expressed their excitement for the trade on Sunday on Twitter, including left tackle Taylor Lewan, who saluted Robinson, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Brown shared a photo on Twitter of himself, Jones and Henry all in Tennessee jerseys, writing, “please excuse my language when I say this ‘y’all done F—ed up.”
J Rob is a gangster!! The man is crushing it! @Titans
— Taylor Lewan (@TaylorLewan77) June 6, 2021
— Ryan Tannehill (@ryantannehill1) June 6, 2021
Tennessee’s odds at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill to win the Super Bowl improved from 35-1 to 30-1, while its odds to win the AFC improved from 18-1 to 15-1. The Titans’ odds to win the AFC South, meanwhile, improved from +120 to +110, tying them with the Indianapolis Colts.
Jones has been the subject of trade conversation over the past two months as Atlanta tries to remedy its salary-cap situation. On FS1 on May 24, Jones said, “I’m outta there,” when asked about the Falcons in a telephone call with Shannon Sharpe on the network’s “Undisputed” show. It is unclear whether Jones knew the phone call was being televised.
Jones, whose base salary of $15.3 million is fully guaranteed for this season, was scheduled to cost the Falcons $23.05 million against the cap in 2021 and has cap hits of $19.263 million in 2022 and 2023. By moving him after June 1, it offers the Falcons relief against the cap this season because the dead money owed to him would be split between this season and next.
Because of you, 11 will always mean more. pic.twitter.com/SJQaT4URNX
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) June 6, 2021
The Falcons drafted Jones sixth overall in 2011, sending multiple picks to Cleveland to be able to take the Alabama standout. Atlanta, when it moved up to acquire Jones, traded its first-round pick in 2011 (No. 26 overall), its second-round pick, two fourth-round picks and its 2012 first-round pick.
Jones, 32, is the Falcons’ career leader in catches (848) and yards (12,896) and is second to Roddy White in touchdown receptions (63). His 95.5 receiving yards per game is the best per-game average in NFL history, almost 10 full yards better than first-ballot Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson, who is second (86.1).
“Julio Jones will always be part of the Falcons story, having set numerous records and creating many great memories for all our fans, including me, since the day we drafted him,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. “He has been a fixture on our team for almost half the time I have owned the Falcons. As we both move in another direction, I’m deeply grateful for what Julio has done for our team and what he has meant to our city and, in my mind, he will always be part of the Falcons family. I wish him nothing but the best in Tennessee and throughout his life.”
Jones had one of his worst seasons in 2020, limited to nine games because of injury with 51 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns. While his 15.1 yards per catch was his highest since 2017 and his catch percentage of 75 percent was the best of his career, his 85.7 yards per game was his lowest since 2012, his second year in the league.
The Falcons do have options to fill in for Jones. Calvin Ridley, whose fifth-year option Atlanta picked up in May, will slide into the No. 1 role, and a combination of 2021 first-round pick Kyle Pitts, Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheaus and sixth-round pick Frank Darby could see bigger roles with Jones elsewhere.
ESPN’s Dianna Russini, Adam Schefter and Michael Rothstein contributed to this report.