Was Julio Jones conned into revealing his trade wish on live TV? One NFL insider says so.
“I have it on good authority that Jones had no clue that he was on national TV when he said to FS1’s Shannon Sharpe, ‘I’m outta there’ two weeks ago, which led to his trade request becoming public,” Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported on Monday.
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The controversial call took place on the May 24 episode of “Undisputed,” and reportedly angered the Falcons front office. It was the first time Jones publicly said that he wanted out of Atlanta.
Earlier on Monday, Jones arrived in Tennessee via private jet following his trade from the Falcons on Sunday.
To acquire the 32-year-old wide receiver, the Titans sent a 2022 second-round draft pick and a 2023 fourth-round selection to the Falcons. In addition to Jones, Atlanta also gave up a 2023 sixth-round pick.
The blockbuster deal is still pending a physical, according to the Titans.
At the time of the interview, many speculated as to whether or not Jones knew he was on television. Sharpe called him out of the blue and didn’t explicitly tell him he was on TV until after his admission – though he said he wasn’t going to the Cowboys once he was clued in.
It came out not long after the call that Jones had requested a trade weeks earlier, and a deal to Tennessee was finalized over the weekend.
Leading up to the trade, multiple reports claimed New England, Seattle and Baltimore expressed interest in Jones. Yet no other team was willing to give up what Tennessee did to acquire the seven-time Pro Bowler, according to NBC Sports.
When it came down to negotiations, the Titans were reportedly the only team serious about taking on the remainder of Jones’ three-year, $38 million contract.
Tennessee solidified the deal by adding an additional pick during a Sunday morning call between Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot and Titans GM Jon Robinson, NBC Sports reported.
Robinson told reporters Sunday that the Titans will be restructuring contracts to fit Jones’ contract under their salary cap. He added that both the team and Jones are mutually excited to get to work.
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“I just talked to Julio an hour ago, and he’s fired up to get here and start working with his new guys,” Robinson said.
“He gives us real multiplicity on offense. We’re high on [free-agent wideout] Josh Reynolds too, and imagine Julio, A.J. Brown and Josh Reynolds in the pattern, with Derrick Henry in the backfield. You pack the box for Derrick and, I mean, someone’s gonna be open for Ryan [Tannehill] to hit.”