The ending to Julio Jones's career with the Atlanta Falcons is not how anyone envisioned it. Most people assumed he would be a lifelong member of the organization, like Roddy White. However, the NFL is a business, and Jones wants to win now, and the team needed cap space. Clearly he doesn't belive the Atlanta Falcons are good enough to win now, and the Atlanta Falcons lost confidence in him.
So, when news broke that Jones had been traded to the Tennessee Titans, it was a mix of emotions. On one hand, the team just lost its greatest wide receiver of all-time. On the other hand though, it was nice to finally see this drama over with so we as Falcons fans could get back to talking about and focusing on just Atlanta Falcons football and who is on the team now. The last thing this team needs are distractions.
So, the dust is settled and the Atlanta Falcons lost it's biggest star, but is that a bad thing? Nope.
Julio Jones is not what he used to be.
Jones was showing signs of slowing down, due to both age and injuries, over the last couple of seasons. Last season especially showed the Atlanta Falcons that they could not depend on Jones to stay healthy. He only played in nine games, and wasn't that impressive in the games he did play. Young wide receivers like Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage had great seasons, proving that they are more than capable of stepping up in Jones's absence. Will either guy be as good or better than Jones? Probably not seeing as Jones is a generational-type talent, but both guys are great in their own way and should be even better this upcoming season with more playing time.
Let's not forget about tight end Hayden Hurst, who caught 56 passes for 571 yards and six touchdowns in his first season with the team. Add to the equation rookie Kyle Pitts who should be the best player on offense, and suddenly the loss of Jones doesn't look too impactful. The Alabama graduate is an all-time great, but trading him to the Titans is not a big loss, and with the way the situation unfolded, it's hard to think anyone will miss him.
Jones disrespected Matt Ryan on his way out.
Matt Ryan showed class and respect in his Instagram post to Julio Jones earlier this week. The same can't be said the other way around.
Ryan doesn't have the strongest arm in the world, everyone knows this. However, he has proven to be among the NFL's greatest quarterbacks over the last decade. Jones thinks Ryan is losing a step, but Ryan is still among the best quarterbacks in the league.
Julio Jones didn't say anything directly negative towards Ryan, and more than likely won't. However, he did say to the media that he wanted a "big-armed quarterback that can deliver the deep ball." Jones also "wants to outrun defensive backs and get underneath the ball." To think that Ryan can't make these types of throws still is disrespectful to Ryan and shocking coming from Jones, who is famously not one to talk about other players or himself to the media.
It's an out of left-field ending to the most prolific partnership in Atlanta Falcons history.
Jones will regret requesting the trade.
The Titans will have a good offense, but losing play caller Arthur Smith to the Atlanta Falcons is big blow to them. He helped turn that offense into one of the best in the league, and without him, the offense will not be as good. With that being said, Jones is going to wish he stayed with the Atlanta Falcons, who will have a revamped offense under Smith.
It will be interesting to see how the Titan's offense performs under a new play caller in former tight ends coach Todd Downing. Finding a coordinator who is just as good as the previous is hard to come by in the NFL. The Atlanta Falcons still haven't found a suitable replacement for Kyle Shanahan, and are hoping Smith and Dave Ragone are the answer.
Jones better hope Downing is just as good as Smith, otherwise he will wish he never left Atlanta.
If only Jones went out with nothing but love and respect for the city and team that welcomed him, this whole situation would've been easier to swallow.