The New England Patriots seemed like a natural landing spot for Atlanta Falcons superstar receiver Julio Jones. Not only did Jones demand a trade to a team that was capable of winning, but he reportedly had lots of admiration for former NFC South rival and current Patriots quarterback Cam Newton.
While he missed some time last year due to injury, Jones proved when healthy that he is every bit the game-changer and future Hall of Fame player that he molded himself into in Atlanta. The Patriots still needed a superstar on offense, and Jones made a ton of sense.
Instead, the Tennessee Titans came and beat New England to the post, as Ian Rapoport is reporting that barring any setbacks, Jones will join up with AJ Brown, Derrick Henry, and Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee, with at least a second-round pick going back to Atlanta in exchange.
The Patriots could’ve used Jones to set fire to the rest of the division, but their hesitancy has ultimately cost them a shot at adding a true difference-maker to their still subpar legion of wideouts.
The Patriots missed out on Julio Jones.
The Patriots have big plans for the offense in 2021, as the re-signing of Cam Newton paired with the additions of Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, and Nelson Agholor in the offseason prove that they believe Cam’s lack of proper support was the main reason that he was unable to really take off last season.
Even with their new-look offense, and Agholor’s impressive performance as a vertical receiver with the Raiders last year, they are still missing that downfield threat that defenses will lose sleep over. Jones would’ve provided that in spades for Bill Belichick, former Patriots executive Jon Robinson ultimately beat his sensei to the punch.
New England has been willing to be a bit cavalier about trading draft picks for proven players, as evidenced when they traded a second-round pick to these same Falcons for Mohamed Sanu. With Jones reportedly having the same going rate, Patriots fans are not going to be pleased with this indecision.
If winning was high on Jones’ priority list, New England made sense. Assuming that Newton is able to go into the season healthy and Josh McDaniels goes deep more, his prerequisite of a strong-armed quarterback also would’ve been checked off. Instead, Tennessee was able to pounce on him, and that could come back to haunt the Patriots eventually.