The Titans just thrust themselves into the Top 3 discussion in the AFC. Adding Julio Jones alongside AJ Brown alone makes them as dangerous an offense*** as any in the NFL. But when you remember they still got Derrick Henry in the backfield, you have matchup nightmares up the ass. ***They’re still helmed by Ryan Tannehill so there’ll always be an asterisk with this team. And I don’t care how ‘new and improved’ he looks…he’s still Ryan Tannehill***
I know what you’re saying, “What about the Ravens and the Bills!?”. Listen, the Bills are great but they don’t have the elite level offensive talent the Titans now have. And while the Ravens have Jackson, if you can slow him down (literally) you have a pretty good shot at taking them out. With Tennessee though, what’s the plan? You can’t double Brown or Julio. And even if you do manage to “shut one of them down”, you have the other one that will eat you alive. And if you devote more DB’s to cover them, Henry will go to work.
Of course, this all comes down to Tannehill and if he can be, at the VERY least, average this year. But with the talent around him, it’s tough to imagine he struggles a ton this season. I mean, the catch radius alone with Julio and Brown allow him a pretty large margin of error.
But when it comes to the Patriots side of this situation, as awesome as it would have been to see Julio with the flying Elvis on his helmet, we all need to remember one thing: the Pats did not need Julio Jones. They were and are operating from a position of power in every single negotiation they go into this offseason. How? Because they currently have a fully stocked cabinet of pass catchers: Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers,
N’Keal Harry, James White, JJ Taylor and Gunner to name a few.
That’s 8 players in a passing attack that will likely be running out of two tight end formations the majority of the time with a sprinkle of Agholor/Bourne/Meyers. There simply would not have been enough balls thrown Julio’s way for this move to make sense. Look at it this way: the Patriots had a total of 436 QB pass attempts last season (2 a piece by Meyers and Jules). Divide that out between just the 2 TE’s and their top 3 WR’s in a 17 game season, that averages to about 5 targets a game for everyone. And that’s only if those attempts are distributed evenly which they obviously won’t be.
That’s a lot of mouths to feed and not enough clam chowder to go around. And I didn’t even mention the likelihood of McDaniels calling more running plays with the emergence of Damien Harris and resurgence of Sony Michel. They also drafted what appears to be LeGarrette Blunt 2.0 which I’m really looking forward to..
But do you see how Julio being on this team isn’t the perfect fit we all hoped it would be? You’d either be cutting down the playing time of two of your receivers you paid good money for, stunting the growth of a promising young guy OR bringing Jones over just for him to be relegated to the third option at best. None of that sounds like a good time. Too many bodies.
Now…that’s a level-headed take on the situation.
Let me attack this from a fan’s perspective now: I wanted Julio. Bad. And I thought it would happen. I did not care who’s playing time needs to be cut. I did not care (within reason) what you had to give up to get him. Julio Jones is still an elite receiver in this league. You have a chance to add talent, you do it. Simple as that. If you have the opportunity to add Julio Jones, you damn well do it. And Belichick knows that which is why the Pats were even involved in the Julio Sweepstakes to begin with.
And wait, what did the Titans give up for him?
Are ya kidding me? I won’t bring up the “Bill gave up a second for Sanu but wouldn’t do the same for Julio!?” nonsense because that’s a loser argument, but still, it sucked to see Jones get traded for a package the Patriots, seemingly, could’ve matched. But at the end of the day, Belichick may have set his high water mark at a third rounder and just wouldn’t budge. Which, again, you can’t REALLY blame him for considering this isn’t a position of immediate need.
“Oh but Mike what if one of those receivers gets hurt!” Simple. Gunner steps in. You split Smith out wide. You run the ball more. You snag a cheap veteran who can step in and play (which I’m sure they’ll do before the season starts). Injuries happen and Belichick knows that.
When it comes to a trade though, you also have to remember that the Falcons had the final decision on who they wanted to work with. And it’s no secret that Arthur Blank isn’t fond of Robert Kraft due to the “28-3” that’s engraved on the Patriots Super Bowl ring. And you can’t really blame him for it either.
And of course now we get the reports that the Patriots didn’t have any “real interest” in Julio when the dust settled.
You can do with that what you will. Could just be the team posturing or it could be legit. It doesn’t really matter. Belichick didn’t need to “play ball” with the Falcons in any way because, again, he already revamped his entire offense this offseason. Adding Julio would’ve just been the cherry atop a surprisingly aggressive sundae.
So let the braindead talk radio hosts and their zombie fans talk about how the Patriots “missed out” on Julio and act like the sky is falling while forgetting everything else Belichick did the last few months to immediately thrust the Pats back into playoff contention. That’s fine. It’s what they do. You and I will just sit here, like the intelligent fans we are, and count the days for Revenge Tour 2021.