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The Titans and Julio Down By The Bank Card

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

OK —- so the Falcons never got that 1st round pick they were coveting. Word was the 1st rounder that was offered was a “future first”...yeah, most likely the 49ers’ 2024 1st rounder.

Thus, the best the Falcons could do was get a 2022 2nd rounder and a 2023 4th Rounder, while giving up their own 2023 6th round pick.

Do the parameters of this trade sound familiar?

Yes, this is essentially the DeAndre Hopkins trade minus RB David Johnson.

The Falcons probably would have wanted a player involved in this trade, but the whole point of the Julio Jones trade was to provide the team with necessary cap space.

Of course, the Falcons aren’t going to get roasted the way Bill O’Brien and the Texans were.

But, when healthy, Julio Jones, at 6-3, 220 and 4.39 speed, is one super-tough cover.

For Cardinals’ fans who have already been concerned about the Cardinals’ 2021 defense being able to handle RB Derrick Henry, QB Ryan Tannehill and WR A.J. Brown in the Cards’ Week 1 matchup with the Titans in Tennessee, the thought of the Titans now adding Julio Jones to their mix is especially daunting.

However, this trade for the Titans now puts them at minus $16.9M on the cap. They can rip up Julio Jones’ current contract by offering him more guaranteed money over the next three years, but the tantalizing thing about that is —- Jones’ current contract is a bargain for the Titans if they can just find a way to pay Jones his $15.3M base salary this year so they can have Jones in 2022 and 202 3in the $12.5M a year range, none of which is guaranteed.

If the Titans want to keep Julio Jones’ contract as is, then they are going to have to make some big-timecuts or perform a number of contract extensions with existing veterans where the team can defer signing and re-structure bonuses to future years.

Ten days ago I tweeted this:

Now, before you call the Cardinals idiots to think that A.J. Green is anywhere near the same caliber player that Julio Jones is —- if you watched Green’s and Jones’ film from last year, they actually do look reasonably similar.

Both have lost a step, which is only natural for players in their 30s who have been in the league for over 10 years. Both have been hampered by injuries —- Green more so over the last three years —- but when you compare Green’s and Jones’ production, thinking that A.J. Green might thrive as a WR2 at this point in his career is not as far-fetched as some would think.

Green 6-4, 210, 32, 4.48 (#4 pick-2011 NFL Draft) : 649 / 9,430 / 14.5 / 65 TDs

Jones 6-3, 220, 32, 4.39 (#6 pick-2011 NFL Draft): 848 / 12,896 / 15.2 / 60 TDs

Context: Julio Jones has had the luxury of playing with only one starting QB, Matt Ryan.

Julio Jones, like A.J. Green, is not going to be WR1 in Tennessee. A.J. Brown will get the majority of the targets.

Sure, the Cardinals are going to have a significant challenge playing the Titans in Week 1 —- but, it will be a good test to see how more physical, disciplined and athletic the Cardinals’ have become in all three phases.

On the other side of the matchup, Mike Vrabel, his staff and the Titans’ players also know they have a significant challenge on their hands playing the Cardinals in Week 1.

Could the Cardinals still make a big trade for a CB?

If the Cardinals phone in with the right offer, that CB could be Xavien Howard of the Dolphins who, contract-wise, is in a very similar situation as DeAndre Hopkins was a couple of years ago —- wanting a new contract after his first two years of a five year deal.

If not Howard, maybe his teammate Byron Jones.

If not Xavien Howard or Byron Jones, then one would imagine that the right offer might be able to land the Cardinals Stephon Gilmore (NE). Or perhaps Gilmore’s teammate J.C. Jackson.

The additions of Malcolm Butler and Darqueze Dennard, plus the re-signing of Robert Alford give the Cardinals three experienced veterans —- but all three are on one year deals. Thus, trading for a CB1 whom the Cardinals could have in place for several years to come, would seem like a very wise move.