NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Falcons are trading WR Julio Jones to the Titans for "at least a 2nd-round pick." We'll see about the final details, but the move obviously means big impact for a pair of offenses. Acquiring a top-shelf WR talent could indicate a desire to lean a little more toward the pass in Tennessee. Jones' arrival certainly hurts the target ceiling for A.J. Brown and leaves fewer looks for other Titans. His departure from Atlanta makes Calvin Ridley the #1 wideout and elevates the rest of a shaky depth chart. Tajae Sharpe and Olamide Zaccheaus could be battling for the #2 outside WR spot in 3-wide sets. Rookie TE Kyle Pitts finds a higher target ceiling as well. We'll continue evaluating this developing situation for both offenses.
Update: Rapoport hears that the Falcons are receiving a 2022 2nd-round pick and a 2023 4th for Jones and a 2023 6th-rounder.
The Athletic's Jeff Schultz reports that the Falcons "would like to trade" WR Julio Jones. We heard from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport in April that teams had been calling Atlanta to inquire about the availability of Jones. But this is the 1st report saying the team is actually looking to move him. The Falcons are in a rough spot vs. the salary cap and would save $15.3 million against it by trading Jones after June 1. Schultz lists the Ravens, 49ers, Patriots, Colts and Chargers as teams who might be interested. Stay tuned.
The Titans signed former Falcons RB Brian Hill to a 1-year deal. Hill, a 2017 5th-round pick, averaged 4.7 YPC last year on a career-high 100 attempts. He’ll battle Darrynton Evans and Jeremy McNichols for the #2 spot behind Derrick Henry. A Henry injury would almost certainly result in a timeshare, though.
The Titans are declining the 5th-year option on the rookie contract of former 1st-round LB Rashaan Evans. That makes 2021 the final campaign on his deal. Assuming Evans doesn't explode and earn a new contract, his expected departure could benefit Jayon Brown and/or David Long.
The Titans have taken WR Dez Fitzpatrick in Round 4 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Fitzpatrick turned in an impressive 2017 redshirt freshman season, leading the Cardinals with 9 receiving scores and ranking 2nd with 45 catches and 699 yards. He never really progressed from there, although it’s worth noting that his 833 yards last year were a career high and beat Tutu Atwell's total by more than 200. Fitzpatrick also checks the size and athleticism boxes at 6’2, 208 pounds with 4.49 speed and a 35-inch vertical. He lands in a spot with opportunity. Tennessee let Corey Davis walk in free agency, dumped WR Adam Humphries and added only WR Josh Reynolds on a 1-year contract.
The Titans selected CB Caleb Farley with the 22nd pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Farley might have slipped because of a pair of back surgeries. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said before the draft that he “would have expected” a healthy Farley to be the 1st CB chosen. Farley also missed 2017 (his true freshman season) with an ACL tear and opted out of 2020. In between, though, he defensed 25 passes and snagged 6 INTs over 24 games with the Hokies. That’s particularly impressive because Farley arrived as a QB planning to move to WR. There’s likely still plenty of room to grow here.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that teams have been calling the Falcons to inquire about the availability of WR Julio Jones. Talks like this happen all the time, so this certainly doesn't mean Jones is on his way out. But it's worth noting that Atlanta is up against the salary cap and would save about $15 million by dealing Jones after June 1. "A trade could not happen for cap reasons before June 1, but teams know Atlanta’s brutal cap situation and are calling," Rapoport said. "A deal won’t happen now, but later? Maybe." We'll continue to keep an eye on this. A Jones trade would be a blow to QB Matt Ryan's fantasy stock but leave a ton of targets available for Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, Hayden Hurst and potentially rookie Kyle Pitts.
Titans HC Mike Vrabel thinks WR Josh Reynolds is capable of playing both "inside and outside." Reynolds played 74% of his snaps on the outside in each of the past 2 seasons with the Rams, but positional versatility can only help his cause in Tennessee. The Titans lost a whopping 192 targets from last year with the departures of Corey Davis, Adam Humphries and Jonnu Smith, so there's plenty of opportunity for Reynolds to carve out a big role in 2021.
The Titans have agreed to a 1-year deal with WR Josh Reynolds, according to Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com. The 26-year-old wideout posted career highs in targets (81), receptions (52) and receiving yards (618) with last year's Rams. His 11.9 yards per catch dipped vs. the previous 2 seasons, however. In Tennessee, Reynolds has a shot to replace Corey Davis opposite A.J. Brown, in a pass-catching corps that also shed Adam Humphries and TE Jonnu Smith this offseason. It's a nice landing spot for opportunity. We'll see what else the Titans add this spring.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that LB Jayon Brown is re-signing with the Titans on a 1-year, $5.25 million deal. Those terms scream "prove it" contract, with Brown coming off a dislocated and fractured elbow that ended his 2020 season prematurely. We're a little surprised the productive young LB couldn't get more in this market, but perhaps teams want to see him start a full 16 games before committing beyond that level. Brown lost 8 games to injuries over the past 2 years (6 of those in 2020) after taking over a starting spot about midway through 2018. He has rated among the top LBs in coverage since then and delivered starter-level fantasy production. Barring a setback with his elbow this offseason, expect to find Brown back among the top 24 LBs in our 2021 IDP rankings.
The Titans have agreed to a 1-year deal with TE Anthony Firkser, Paul Kuharsky reports. It was an expected move and keeps the 26-year-old atop the current depth chart in a Titans offense that just let TE Jonnu Smith walk. We'll see what else Tennessee adds at the position. Firkser is OK at the TE3 level in current best-ball drafting -- with upside into TE2 range if he emerges as the starter.
The Titans are stealing a versatile D-lineman from a division rival. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Denico Autry will be heading to Tennessee on a 3-year, $21.5 million contract with $9 million guaranteed. Autry posted 7.5 sacks last season -- 2 years after notching a career-high 9 -- and tallied 10+ QB hits each of the past 3 seasons. He's capable of playing inside or on the edge but figures to not get outside the OT so much in Tennessee's scheme. Autry was a useful IDP option in Indy but will have less talent around him with the Titans. We'll see about his production -- in his age-31 season -- in the new place. We likely won't be chasing him on fantasy-draft day, though.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Titans and OLB Bud Dupree have agreed to a multi-year deal that will average $16.5 million per season. It's a bold move for a Tennessee defense in desperate need of pass-rush help. The Titans ranked last in the league in sack rate last season and 2nd-worst in pressure rate. After a slow start to his career, Dupree picked up his sack production over the past 2 seasons. He tallied 11.5 in a breakout 2019 campaign and then had 8 through 11 games before tearing his right ACL on Dec. 2 against Baltimore. That injury makes this contract particularly bold. We'll keep track of Dupree's progress this offseason. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, appears ready to let 2020 rookie Alex Highsmith try to take over Dupree's starting gig -- which Highsmith did for last year's final 5 games.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that Titans LB Jayon Brown got full, "unrestricted" medical clearance Friday to return from the elbow injury that ended his 2020 season. Brown fractured and dislocated his left elbow in November, but he should be fully ready for the coming season. The timing looks especially positive for Brown, as he's set to hit unrestricted free agency later this month. We'll see if the 26-year-old stays in Tennessee. Brown has spent the past 2 years as a strong IDP contributor.
The Titans have promoted Todd Downing to OC. He replaces Arthur Smith, who took the HC job in Atlanta. Downing spent the past 2 seasons as Tennessee's TEs coach. His only NFL OC experience came back in 2017 with the Raiders, who finished that year 17th in total yards and 23rd in points. The more of Smith's offense Downing can keep in place, the better.
Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring) is out for Sunday’s game vs. the Bucs. He ends up missing 5 of the season’s final 6 games. Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage will again operate as Atlanta’s top 2 WRs this weekend.
Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring) is out for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage will continue to operate as Atlanta’s top 2 WRs. Jones’ absence makes Matt Ryan a shaky QB1 play.
Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday. Interim HC Raheem Morris said Jones is "a bit closer" to returning but wouldn't commit to him playing vs. the Chiefs this weekend. We'll continue to track his progress, but fantasy owners shouldn't be counting on Jones in Week 16 lineups.
Titans S Kenny Vaccaro is inactive for today's game against the Lions. It's the 2nd straight game he has missed with illness. Amani Hooker should start again in his place but isn't a high-level IDP option. He's been OK in 2 games of full-time duty this year, posting 6 tackles (3 solo) and 1 INT among 2 passes defensed at Baltimore; and then 7 tackles (5 solo, 1 for loss) last week against Jacksonville.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Falcons WR Julio Jones is still hoping to play again this season, despite a lingering hamstring injury and his team being out of playoff contention. Jones recently received a platelet-rich plasma injection in that bum hamstring in hopes of speeding up the healing process. We'll see if he can make it back for next weekend's game vs. the Chiefs.
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