NFL insider Dov Kleinman came in with the second reference, also connecting the Patriots and Tennessee Titans.
NBC Sports’ Michael S. Holley had already reported Jones would love to play with Patriots quarterback Cam Newton. The two men were a part of the same 2011 NFL Draft class. They also played against each other in college when Newton was at Auburn and Jones at Alabama.
Newton and Jones appear to be friends, and the connection could drive the latter’s potential interest in playing for New England.
What the Patriots Offer Jones
Besides playing with Newton, who still has some things to prove in 2021 after struggling in 2020, New England offers Jones an intriguing roster of potential teammates.
The Patriots have built a stout offensive line, improved their wide receiver corps, and added two solid tight ends. New England also returns a robust set of running backs and will feature a drastically upgraded defense.
New England’s O-Line of Trent Brown (who has already openly recruited Jones on Twitter), Isaiah Wynn, Shaq Mason, Mike Onwenu, and David Andrews could be among the game’s elite. The team signed Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor to join Jakobi Meyers at receiver.
Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry virtually ensure New England will see a significant leap in production at tight end. At the same time, Damien Harris, rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, James White, and J.J. Taylor offer talent and versatility at running back.
New England is stacked on defense, or so it would appear. Dont’a Hightower returns from the COVID-19 opt-out list to help anchor an imposing group of linebackers, including Matt Judon, rookie Ronnie Perkins, Josh Uche, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Chase Winovich, Anfernee Jennings, Raekwon McMillan, and Terez Hall. The defensive line might be even better with Lawrence Guy, rookie Christian Barmore, Henry Anderson, Deatrich Wise Jr., and Davon Godchaux.
If Stephon Gilmore isn’t traded, the secondary has excellent depth with J.C Jackson, Jonathon Jones, Devin McCourty, Kyle Dugger, and Adrian Phillips. Even the special teams unit has promise with Pro-Bowlers Gunner Olszewski and Jake Bailey, along with kicker Nick Folk.
When you consider Bill Belichick is coaching this group, it’s easy to see why Jones and perhaps other players might be drawn to Foxboro.
What the Titans Offer Jones
The system and culture in Tennessee have some similarities thanks to the Titans’ head coach Mike Vrabel spending his glory years with the Patriots.
Tennessee has something the Patriots don’t in another top-flight receiver, A.J. Brown, and an all-world running back and fellow Alabama alum Derrick Henry.
The Titans’ defense was a problem in 2020. They ranked 28th in the league last season, and despite signing Bud Dupree, Janoris Jenkins, Kevin Johnson, and drafting rookie Caleb Farley, Tennessee might still struggle to stop teams in 2021.
Both rosters and situations have some appeal, but the Patriots appear to offer an opportunity to go further in the postseason based on a stronger defense and a more established winning culture.
- Falcons Name Price for Patriots Trade Target Julio Jones: Report
- Patriots Having ‘Internal Discussions’ About Huge Trade for Elite WR
- Patriots Sign Hard-Hitting Safety, Nicknamed ‘The Punisher’
- Superstar WR Wants to Play With Cam Newton: Report
- Patriots ‘Will Be In On’ Trade for Superstar WR: Report