How will Julio Jones trade shape the Titans, Falcons

Can one receiver make a distinction in a group’s Super Bowl fortunes? We’re about to seek out out.

The Tennessee Titans took an enormous step ahead on the PR/season ticket gross sales entrance Sunday after they acquired All-Galaxy extensive receiver Julio Jones from the Atlanta Falcons, together with a 2023 sixth-round decide, for a second-rounder in 2022 and a fourth-rounder in 2023. Will that translate to extra wins in Tennessee? Or, for that matter, Atlanta? Yet to be decided.

With Jones becoming a member of AJ Brown and Derrick Henry in a hydra offense, Tennessee is prone to be the AFC South favourite and a classy convention Super Bowl decide for daring prognosticators. Sports books like BetMGM, the place precise cash is on the road, are lots much less bullish on the Titans. Pre-Jones, Tennessee was a +4000 favourite to win the Super Bowl; now, the Titans’ odds have risen to +2500. That’s a pleasant bump for one participant, however nonetheless nicely behind convention rivals just like the Chiefs (+450); Ravens, Bills and Browns (+1400); and even with the Colts and Patriots. ‌

Is {that a} honest evaluation of Jones’ abilities? With plenty of mileage on his tires however loads of highlights probably nonetheless forward, Jones offers the Titans the league’s greatest receiving tandem alongside Brown. Add in Henry, the human locomotive, in addition to the most effective quarterbacks within the convention in Ryan Tannehill, and also you’re a group that must throw up touchdowns with the reckless abandon of bachelorette events trundling up close by Broadway.
Granted, the Titans are going to should restructure the contract of everybody inside a 4-mile radius of Nissan Stadium to make Jones work. For this season, Jones comes with a wage of $15.3 million however carries a wage cap hit of $23 million, greater than some other extensive receiver within the recreation, in response to Over The Cap. (Starting to see why Atlanta made this deal, aren’t you?) That’s not very best when the Titans had solely $3.4 million of cap area obtainable — workable, however not very best.

Jones additionally doesn’t play protection — nicely, apart from last-second Hail Mary palms conditions — and that’s a priority for Tennessee going into 2021. Last 12 months, the Titans ranked twenty fourth at 27.4 factors allowed per recreation.

Tennessee additionally simply misplaced its inventive offensive coordinator, Arthur Smith, to … nicely, Atlanta, the place he is the brand new head coach. So it is no assure that the Titans will robotically flourish with Julio … but when nothing else, they’re going to be enjoyable as hell to observe on offense.

‌As for the Falcons? Well, they’re saying all the fitting issues, thanking Julio for his service and promising he’ll at all times be a member of the Falcons Family and all that. He leaves Atlanta because the franchise’s chief in receiving yards, and if there have been ever a Mount Rushmore of Falcons gamers — which might little doubt be sponsored by Coca-Cola and introduced by Home Depot — Jones makes the minimize.

While lining up for the Falcons, Jones may at all times come by means of with an acrobatic how-did-he-catch-that seize. Had Atlanta been capable of maintain onto a 25-point third-quarter Super Bowl lead, Jones’ astounding sideline catch with lower than 5 minutes remaining within the recreation would stand as one of many biggest performs in NFL historical past. Instead, you in all probability forgot it even occurred:
Sadly for Falcons followers, Atlanta is bidding farewell to one of many biggest gamers not simply in franchise historical past, however NFL historical past. (The listing of gamers with extra receiving yards than Jones by means of the primary 10 years of their profession: Jerry Rice. That’s it.) Almost nobody can match Jones’ profession numbers, and no person has had his mixture of measurement, pace, athleticism and creativity.

That mixture comes at a excessive value. Jones’ age, declining manufacturing — he had solely three touchdowns final 12 months in 9 video games, and his lowest yards-per-game common since his second 12 months within the league — and mammoth wage cap hit made him expendable within the chilly enterprise of the NFL. Combine Calvin Ridley, who’s been WR1A if not WR1, the previous couple years, and incoming No. 4 draft decide Kyle Pitts, and Matt Ryan has loads of choices exterior Jones.

Atlanta went with half-measures in its rebuild, sticking with Ryan and passing on a quarterback excessive within the draft whereas kicking Jones unfastened. The Falcons have been reportedly furious that Jones’ “I’m out of there, man” take hit the air in what Jones might have assumed was a personal dialog with “Undisputed” co-host Shannon Sharpe, since that negated a lot of Atlanta’s bargaining energy.

But the Falcons had been in search of a strategy to transfer Jones since earlier than the draft, and so they did so whereas offloading his large wage and preserving him out of the NFC. Based on present divisional schedule rotations, the Falcons aren’t definitively slated to see the Titans in Atlanta till 2027. By then, Jones must be within the Falcons’ retired-numbers ring of honor, not the opposing sideline. (Atlanta will get a firsthand take a look at what it is wish to face Jones, for a sequence a minimum of, when the Falcons and Titans sq. off within the first preseason recreation of the season on Aug. 13.)

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‌Will Jones, now 32, rediscover the brilliance of his 20s in Nashville? He’s at an age when extensive receivers decline, however he is additionally nonetheless sufficient of a unicorn to be a harmful matchup for any cornerback within the league. Either manner, the Titans enter the 2021 season as one of many league’s must-watch groups … and the Falcons will probably be driving waves of nostalgia watching from afar.

Fowler is coming off a tie for eighth within the PGA Championship and a tie for eleventh on the Memorial, his greatest two outcomes of the 12 months. He already has missed the Masters from falling nicely exterior the highest 50 on the earth.

Chez Reavie was assured of getting by means of after rounds of 65-67.

Three-time main champion Padraig Harrington was on the bubble, needing a minimum of two birdies over his final 5 holes. Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel made an enormous surge, 6 below by means of 14 holes on his spherical on the more durable Brookside course and in affordable form to get one of many 16 spots in Columbus.

Former PGA champions Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner every shot 72 at Brookside and completed at 5-under 131. That was tied for sixteenth, although prone to go away them out.

The delay prompted different issues. The first spherical didn’t finish till near rush hour, and the programs are 13 miles aside. Fowler needed to cope with visitors, leaving him time to park, seize a sizzling canine, hit just a few putts and head again out.

Henry Lee of Canada was the final participant to tee off. He had a half-eaten hamburger resting on his golf golf equipment as he teed off at 5:45 p.m.

Ohio had one other qualifier an hour away in Springfield, which had no such climate delays. Carson Schaake completed at 9-under par to steer the seven gamers who superior to Torrey Pines. Schaake additionally was medalist at his native qualifying and will probably be making his Open debut.

Branden Grace went from a fourth-place end on the Memorial to an early begin in Jupiter, Florida, and he parred the ultimate gap at The Bear’s Club to earn one among six spots obtainable. Grace selected to play in Florida as a result of it’s his house course.

Patrick Rodgers led all qualifiers in Florida. Also getting by means of was Luis Gagne, who shared low beginner honors within the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

Rick Lamb made an 8-foot birdie putt on the fourth further gap — 40 holes for the day — to say the fifth and closing spot in Atlanta.

In the New York qualifier, Cameron Young led 4 gamers who earned spots. Young lately received back-to-back weeks on the Korn Ferry Tour. Another qualifier was Andy Pope, who now has certified for the U.S. Open for the fifth time in his final six tries. Pope did not get an opportunity final 12 months when the COVID-19 pandemic pressured the USGA to do with out qualifying.

Wilson Furr made it to his first U.S. Open when he least anticipated it. He performed poorly whereas making an attempt to qualify for the PGA Tour occasion this week at Congaree in South Carolina. He was an alternate for the U.S. Open qualifier at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head and considered not even exhibiting up. It was factor he did. Four gamers withdrew, and Furr had a tee time.

He had rounds of 67-70 and was amongst 5 gamers who earned spots. The final one went to Akshay Bhatia, who made a par on the second further gap of a 3-for-1 playoff.

“I told my buddy last night, ‘If I get in this thing, I’m getting through,’” Furr mentioned.

Taylor Pendrith of Canada tied for twenty third at Winged Foot final September in his U.S. Open debut and will get one other crack at it. He led the 4 qualifiers on the Maryland web site.

Joe Highsmith, a part of Pepperdine’s nationwide championship group final week, earned one of many two spots in Washington state. The different qualifier was in Los Angeles.

England didn’t have a qualifier this 12 months due to journey restrictions associated to the COVID-19 pandemic. The USGA as an alternative created a particular factors listing from the final three European Tour occasions. Marcus Armitage received in Germany and earned one of many 10 spots.

When the qualifiers are over, the U.S. Open can have 155 gamers. One spot is reserved in case a participant have been to win a second PGA Tour occasion since final June. Four gamers on the Palmetto Championship at Congaree had that probability — Brian Gay, Hudson Swafford, Martin Laird and Richy Werenski.

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