NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans have agreed to a trade with the Atlanta Falcons for seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones, both teams confirmed Sunday.
The swap allows the Falcons to clear salary cap space, and the Titans gain help for quarterback Ryan Tannehill, running back Derrick Henry and receiver A.J. Brown.
The Falcons will receive the Titans' second-round pick in 2022 and their fourth-round pick in 2023, with Atlanta sending Jones and a sixth-round pick in 2023 to Tennessee, pending the 32-year-old former University of Alabama star passing a physical.
The deal adds Jones to an offense than already has Tannehill, the comeback player of the year for the 2019 season; Henry, the league's reigning offensive player of the year after rushing for 2,000-plus yards in 2020; and Brown, a 1,000-yard receiver the past two years in his first two NFL seasons. The reigning AFC South Division champions ranked fourth in scoring last season, and this move shores up a big hole in their offense after losing wide receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith in free agency in March.
"J Rob is a gangster!! The man is crushing it!" Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan wrote of general manager Jon Robinson on Twitter.
Tannehill quickly approved of the move with a tweet that said "Let's go!!!!!" Henry, who also played at Alabama, recently shared photos of himself working out with Jones on social media. Brown had been lobbying hard for Jones to join the Titans on social media, and on Sunday he shared a photo on Twitter of himself, Jones and Henry all in Tennessee jerseys celebrating.
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey also went to social media to express his feelings that his team missed out on Jones.
The Falcons shared a video of Jones on their Twitter account and wrote: "Because of you, 11 will always mean more."
Jones' $15.3 million base salary is guaranteed, and he was set to cost the Falcons slightly more than $23 million against the salary cap next season. By trading him after June 1, they now split the dead money over two seasons, easing their tough financial situation.
And now the Titans have a wide receiver costing less in 2021 than if they had picked up the fifth-year option at $15.6 million for Davis, who signed with the New York Jets.
Jones holds Falcons records with 848 catches for 12,896 yards, and his 60 touchdown receptions ranked second in franchise history. He had a career-best 136 catches for 1,871 yards in 2015. He had six straight seasons with more than 1,300 receiving yards until being limited to nine games in 2020 by a nagging hamstring injury.
He ranks first in NFL history in averaging 95.5 receiving yards per game through 135 games, ahead of Calvin Johnson's mark of 86.1 per game with the Detroit Lions.
Jones also is 20th in receiving yards and fourth behind only Jerry Rice (76), Randy Moss (64) and Marvin Harrison (59) for 100-yard receiving games with 58. Only Moss has a higher average per reception (15.6) than Jones (15.2) among all NFL players with at least 848 catches.
The Titans have five straight winning seasons that rank behind only the Seattle Seahawks and the Kansas City Chiefs for active streaks in the NFL. They lost to Kansas City in the AFC championship game in the 2019 season.
Tennessee tied the Buffalo Bills for second with 396.4 yards per game in 2020 with Tannehill throwing for a career-best 33 touchdowns. Only the Chiefs had more yards on offense, but Jones could help a passing offense that ranked 23rd in the NFL with 228.3 yards per game.
This is just the latest big deal by Robinson since being hired as GM in January 2016.
Robinson traded the right to draft No. 1 overall in April 2016 to the Rams for a bundle of picks, and he also traded for Tannehill in March 2019 in a deal in which the Miami Dolphins picked up a big chunk of the quarterback's salary. Tannehill, a starter with the Dolphins, was added as a backup to Marcus Mariota but eventually replaced him midway through that season to help the Titans make a major turnaround.
Robinson and the team signed both Tannehill and Henry, the NFL's back-to-back rushing leader, to four-year extensions last year. Brown, the other big piece of the offense, has two years left on his rookie contract.