The official deal (via NFL Network) was Jones and Atlanta’s 2023 6th round pick for Tennessee’s 2022 2nd round pick and their 2023 4th round pick. Atlanta will also save around $15.3 million in cap space, so that was clearly a significant factor in them dealing their franchise’s greatest receiver ever.
Tennessee adds Jones to their already big-boy offense featuring Alpha No. 1 receiver A.J. Brown and one of the best running backs in the NFL, Derek Henry. The Titans’ offense will be fun to watch and hard to defend with the addition of Jones.
For Atlanta, losing Jones is going to be a big knock on their offense, obviously. Jones is one of the best receivers in the NFL, even at 32 years old. However, the Falcons do have rising star receiver Calvin Ridley, who will undoubtedly see a bump in production without Jones in Atlanta.
However, quarterback Matt Ryan surely is sad to see his favorite target leave. Although, Atlanta did draft the No. 1 player in the 2021 NFL Draft, former Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts.
Kyle Pitts is elite, but he will not replace Julio Jones.
Falcons fans should have high expectations for Pitts in his rookie season, and Pitts has a real shot at winning offensive rookie of the year. Many people have thought that Pitts could replace Jones and play split to the outside a ton in his rookie season, but Falcons fans should not count on that.
I think the world of Pitts, but I think he is a rare tight end, not a wide receiver. Pitts is already a top-five tight end in the NFL, in my opinion. Pitts was looked at as a wide receiver by many people as he entered the draft, but that is just not an accurate breakdown of what Pitts truly brings to the field.
Atlanta will obviously line him up outside in some formations, but Pitts will likely be used predominantly as a tight end. At Florida, Pitts lined up in-line at tight end on 63.81% of his snaps, so he is a tight end, according to Bleeding Green Nation.
So, while the idea of having Pitts replace Jones sounds excellent, the reality is that Pitts will not replace Jones for the Falcons.