There were mixed emotions among the Atlanta Falcons fanbase when Julio Jones was traded to the Tennessee Titans prior to the 2021-22 season, but after the star wide receiver’s lackluster season, Jon Chuckery says that the Falcons made the right move at the right time.
Battling through injuries, Jones played in just 10 games this season with 31 receptions and just one touchdown—a noticeable decline in productivity following a decade of dominance in Atlanta. Chuckery explained his belief that, while Jones is a future Hall of Famer and one of the best players to ever put on a Falcons’ uniform, this lack of productivity further validates the move.
“You see now, you’re better off to make sure that you trade a guy—even one of your star players—a year too early instead of a year too late,” he said.
Now that the Titans’ season is over, the 2nd-round pick acquired for Jones will either be the 58th or 57th overall pick depending on the result of today’s Bills/Chiefs matchup. According to The Falcon Report, the Falcons get the 57th pick if the Bills win.
Regardless of the final slot, Chuckery pointed out that the player selected at that point should be able to contribute right away to a roster with plenty of holes to be filed.
“It sounds like it's a knock and a slight to Julio; it’s not. It’s just good business to have done it, and now, it's going to parlay into the Falcons having another second-round pick that’s going to be a pretty decent pick.”
Chuckery also believes that the Falcons could have a similar decision to make this offseason with DT Grady Jarrett. The seventh-year player out of Clemson is set to become a free agent after the 2022 season.
“As much as I don’t want to lose Grady Jarrett, it may make sense. First off, I’m not convinced that he’s signing back with the Atlanta Falcons," Chuckery said. "I think Grady wants to see about free agency. It’s his chance to massively cash in and get wined and dined. That doesn’t mean that he can’t end up back with the Falcons if that happens, but if I’m the Falcons, I think it's worth exploring that idea of ‘what do I get for Grady Jarrett?’
Jarrett remains the lone bright spot on a defensive line that ranks among the worst in the NFL.