The Atlanta Falcons experienced a quiet offseason, trading wide receiver Julio Jones to the division rival Falcons for a fifth-round draft pick. The move was hailed as spectacular, as Jones’ departure will certainly help the Falcons’ offense. But the story of Jones’ departure is much more complicated than that.
In the third year of his career, Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones made the most of his opportunity as a full time starter.
Three months after being acquired from the Falcons, Julio Jones is no longer a member of the Falcons. After the trade to the Hawks, Jones is now a member of the division rival Patriots. Upon being acquired from the Falcons, Jones was one of the most sought after free agents in the NFL. Two drafts after being selected by the Falcons, Jones was selected by the Patriots.
ATLANTA – Left guard Jake Matthews called it a cheat code, and over the past decade it often seemed that receiver Julio Jones had a nearly unfair advantage over the Atlanta Falcons’ defense. Time after time, Jones has made the unusual the ordinary, making the impressive an integral part of his work, week after week, season after season. Jones was all the Falcons could hope for when they selected him with an offer from Alabama in 2011. In fact, it was probably bigger. Jones became the best receiver in the NFL for a while. Atlanta’s leader in receptions (848) and yards (12,896) and second behind Roddy White in touchdowns (60). His body kick in Super Bowl LI against New England has been repeated time and time again over the past fifty years in a game his team lost. This is one of the greatest catches of all time. Jones is simply one of Atlanta’s most recognizable players, even if he is now going to play elsewhere. The Falcons traded Jones to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Thus ended an era of Atlanta’s offense and the era of coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot began with a more radical change than expected. The Falcons will receive a 2022 second round pick and a 2023 fourth round pick for Jones, along with a 2023 sixth round pick. While this has been known for weeks, and the speculation began even before the draft when Fontenot said he would listen to offers for Jones’ services because of Atlanta’s salary cap restrictions, it’s still a bit disheartening. In the 32-year-old’s ten years in the NFL, he seemed to avoid the spotlight and be a hidden superstar in an era when so much information about public figures is shared with the world. His Twitter account is private. There are no users on his Instagram, and he has a total of 20 posts since 2014. What was known about Jones was often what was said publicly about him: good teammate, good in the community, hard worker, excellent player. It was these qualities that led Atlanta owner Arthur Blank to repeatedly declare that Jones would be a Falcon for life. The reactions are clear – at least as far as social media can serve as an arbiter of the city’s feelings – about what Julio Jones means to Atlanta. Since his arrival in Atlanta, the Alabama native has been a favorite and has become an icon for the franchise. Julio Jones leaves Atlanta as the Falcons’ all-time leader in receptions and yards scored. AP Photo/John Bazemore He was a two-time First-Team All-Pro, appeared in seven Pro Bowls and became the NFL’s leading receiver after Johnson’s retirement in 2015 – Jones scored 1,871 points that year, the second-most in league history behind Johnson. He led the league twice in receiving yards (2015, 18) and led the NFL three times in yards per game (2015, 16, 18). His 95.5 receiving yards per game are a career high, 9.4 yards more than the No. 2 on the list (Johnson, 86.1) and over 10 yards more than the No. 3 (Michael Thomas, 85.0). Access to elite information for all fans: Highlights of the biggest games, original series from NFL legends, unprecedented analysis and more. Sign up now for the full ESPN+ experience. When he’s on your team, you can do so many crazy good things because he’s such a good player, Matthews said. I have nothing but respect for him, and he was just a great teammate for me. My whole career here started because of his presence, and no matter what happens, I have nothing but respect for him. Jones will always be remembered for his work with the Falcons. That’s how it works in the NFL. Joe Namath may be the most famous Jets player of all time, but he ended his career with the Rams. Jerry Rice is a 49ers player, although he played in Oakland and Seattle; the same goes for Emmitt Smith and Dallas, although he spent two years in Arizona. The fact that Jones will not play his entire career in Atlanta does not diminish his value to the Falcons. Yeah, seeing him play for Tennessee next season would be weird. If another player carries #11 for Atlanta in the near future – which would be a mistake, if you think about it – that would be great. Changing teams or players happens to almost everyone sooner or later. In today’s NFL, it’s rare to find a player who starts and ends his career on the same team. But no matter where Jones plays for the rest of his NFL career, one thing is certain: He will go down in history as one of the greatest Falcons of all time.With the Atlanta Falcons already in the playoff hunt, their star wide receiver Julio Jones’ departure on Monday was a tough blow. And while the team has already done what they can without him, it’s still likely that Julio’s absence will hurt them moving forward. After all, Julio was clearly the best player on the team, and his departure means they’ll likely miss the playoffs this year. Some have suggested that Atlanta replace him with a veteran like Demaryius Thomas, but Demaryius won’t be available until 2019.. Read more about julio jones team and let us know what you think.
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