Tagged in: Derrick Henry

Atlanta Falcons trade Julio Jones to Tennessee Titans

The Atlanta Falcons agreed to star trade wide receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

In exchange for Jones, the Titans will send a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round selection to the Falcons. Along with Jones, the Falcons will send a 2023 sixth-round selection to the Titans.

The deal is pending a physical, the Titans stated.

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.

The Titans lost two of their top pass-catchers in free agency as wide receiver Corey Davis signed with the New York Jets and tight end Jonnu Smith signed with the New England Patriots.

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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 programmed 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.

The Falcons drafted Jones sixth overall in the 2011 draft, trading a massive amount with 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).

Jones, though, had one of his worst seasons in 2020, limited to nine matches 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.

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Derrick Henry, Titans reach agreement on 4-year deal

The Titans waited until the 11th hour, but they’ve secured their rushing king.

Tennessee agreed to terms with running back Derrick Henry on a four-year deal worth $50 million right before Wednesday’s deadline, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The team later confirmed it reached a long-term agreement with the RB.

Henry signed his franchise tag tender less than a month after the Titans formally placed it on him before the start of free agency, but that one-year contract that was arranged to pay him $10.3 million will become moot upon signing the new, multi-year deal.

“I want to stay with the Tennessee Titans,” Henry said, via the team website. “They are the ones that took a chance on me – 31 teams passed on me on the draft and they selected me. I have a lot of love for Tennessee. I have a lot of love for everyone in that organization.

“And we have grown from the time I got there. (In 2016) we just missed the playoffs, (in 2017) we got into the playoffs and went into the second round. This year we went to the AFC Championship. We have grown as an organization and as a team and I think that speaks volume for the direction we’re headed.”

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Henry rumbled to the league’s rushing title in the final week of the 2019 season, capping a 1,540-yard, 16-touchdown campaign with a dominant 211-yard outing in a playoff-clinching Week 17 victory over Houston.

He proved his worth in the postseason, putting Tennessee’s offense on his back to help the Titans to two stunning playoff victories.

Henry rushed 64 times for 377 yards and one touchdown in Tennessee’s upset victory over New England and Baltimore before coming back to earth in an AFC Championship Game loss to Kansas City.

Henry’s 69-yard outing in the conference title game wasn’t his fault, but a result of a Titans offense trying to keep pace with the Chiefs’ explosive group and being forced to turn away from the run. It definitely wasn’t indicative of his value; without Henry, the Titans simply do not reach the doorstep of the Super Bowl.

As of July 2020, it is wise for the Titans to do what they must to keep Henry, the strongest part of their offense for almost the entirety of his career — even if it took Tennessee two years to realize it.

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