For the first time in 10 years, we won’t be seeing Julio Jones dressed in a No. 11 Falcons jersey. Instead, the future Hall of Famer will be repping No. 2 for the Tennessee Titans.
This offseason the Falcons traded Jones and a 2023 sixth-round pick to Tennessee and received a 2022 second-round and 2023 fourth-round pick in return.
Blank recently expressed his true feelings over the trade prior to the Falcons first day of training camp practice.
“I think the part that bothered me personally was the fact that he expressed that he wanted to be traded,” Blank said via ESPN. “You know, we had a 10-year relationship. I think it was a good relationship. It was certainly productive.
“He’s a Hall of Fame player so I was disappointed he felt that way. For whatever reasons, I’m not sure. I was unable to speak with him myself. I tried to, but he felt the way he felt and was ready to make a change.”
Blank noted that he has learned through his years of being a team owner that you want players who want to be there.
The Truth Is Jones Wanted Out for Two Years
Some analysts, fans, and coaches will argue that the Falcons had an “unfair” trade, but at the end of the day it all makes sense as to why it went down the way that it did.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer revealed some truths behind the trade that “dummies” it down.
To start, Julio Jones wanted out. In fact, he wanted out two years ago when he requested a trade under former head coach Dan Quinn and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. Instead, he signed a $66 million dollar contract extension. This deal would later (ta-da) come to haunt the franchise’s salary cap.
Once Quinn was fired, Jones went to the head coach-GM duo, Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith, before the 2021 NFL Draft to request a trade again. They honored Jones’s request and took calls from various teams. Initially, the Falcons were asking for a first-round pick and while several false reports said there was one on the table, Breer confirmed there was never a first-round offer made.
The Titans were the only team serious about the trade and the only team in the mix that could afford to pay Jones more if he performs well this season.
“We have tremendous regard for the player and the human being as well and he’s given us 10 great years and that’s about half of my ownership and set all kinds of records,” Blank said. “But the time was right for him to move on and I think the coach did what he could and the general manager did what he could to have him try to stay but he was ready to move.”
Jones Opens Up About the Trade
Atlanta trading Jones was bound to happen eventually and in the works for two years. This offseason, despite a coaching change, was the time to make the move since the Falcons were officially in cap “hell.”
The Falcons were the last team to sign their 2021 rookie class, but the trade freed up the cap space need to do so.
Jones recently opened up about the mutual departure.
“Yeah, that’s me and the Falcons we have an agreement at the end of the day,” Jones said, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We discussed everything. We just made the decision. It was just cut and dry. There was nothing toward football. It’s business. So, you just had to accept whatever happens, happens. Like I said, it was a mutual agreement on it. We just split up.”
Jones said the trade was not easy for him and thanked the Falcons for giving him the opportunity to showcase his talent, but it was time to move on.