Pioli on Julio Jones trade: 'Whatever he's got in the tank, the Titans are going to get'


The Tennessee Titans won the Julio Jones sweepstakes on Sunday, as the Atlanta Falcons agreed to trade their veteran star receiver and a 2023 sixth-round draft pick to the defending AFC South champions in exchange for a 2022 second-rounder and a 2023 fourth-rounder.

But the Titans' shrewd and aggressive move isn't risk-free. At 32 years old, there are some concerns about Jones' overall durability. So, what should the franchise expect out of Jones, who's under contract for the next three years?

"What to expect is, whatever he's got in the tank, the Tennessee Titans are going to get. That's who he is," former NFL executive and current CBS Sports HQ analyst Scott Pioli told the Tiki and Tierney show on Monday. "That's who he is as a person. In the program that he came out of in Alabama, that's his makeup. They've got a head coach in Mike Vrabel who understands players needing time and needing to manage reps. And that's what Julio has had to do during practice the last several years.

"To me, the biggest thing is going to be, can Julio and their quarterback, [Ryan] Tannehill, get on the same page from a timing standpoint, where Tannehill can truly understand the explosive speed that this guy has, which is still rare. And will they be able to practice together enough in order to time things up and get the chemistry together. Because Julio, at this point in time, he's going to show up on Sunday. And the injury thing is overrated because he shows up on Sundays. The difficult part is, he has to manage a lot of time during the practice week...

"He is a high-end performance player, so with him comes this extra stress that's put on his body. I don't know if either of you have ever been down on the sideline to hear him run and to feel him run. The ground moves. And he's got such power, I think that as he's getting older now, there are some elements of his game, physically, that are going to have to be worked with. But Mike Vrabel is smart enough to understand the players and where they're at, and to manage his pitch count."

Jones, the Falcons' all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, has amassed at least 1,300 receiving yards in six consecutive seasons, and across 135 career games, he's tallied 848 receptions and 60 touchdowns. Last season, Jones played just nine games due to a lingering hamstring injury.

Tennessee will take on the remainder of the contract Jones signed with Atlanta back in 2019. The seven-time Pro Bowler is due to make $15.3 million, fully guaranteed in 2021, per Spotrac.com, and $11.5 million in each of the final two years of his current deal, during 2022 and 2023.

As a result of the trade, the Titans' odds to win Super Bowl 56 in Los Angeles improved from 35-to-1 to 30-to-1, according to the William Hill Sportsbook.

The entire NFL conversation between Pioli and Tiki and Tierney can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow the Tiki and Tierney Show on Twitter @TikiAndTierney and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.