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Julio Jones, Titans

2 Titans players hurt by Julio Jones blockbuster trade

The Tennessee Titans made some waves over the weekend. The defending AFC South champions officially acquired Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones from the Atlanta Falcons.

With Jones now stepping in to fill the void left by former Titans and current New York Jets wide receiver Corey Davis, Tennessee’s offense has quickly become one of the scariest units in all of football.

The Titans offense was already pretty intimidating prior to the acquisition of Jones, but adding the longtime Falcons pass catcher to the mix just puts this group over the top.

Whether it is Jones, fellow Pro Bowl wide receiver AJ Brown, All-Pro running back Derrick Henry, and veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the Titans offense will be coming at opposing defenses from literally every angle.

With the Titans losing out on the services of the aforementioned Davis in addition to slot wide receiver Adam Humphries and tight end Jonnu Smith, who landed with the Washington Football Team and the New England Patriots, respectively, it initially appeared as though Tennessee wouldn’t be able to replicate such firepower ahead of the 2021-22 campaign. Thanks to general manager Jon Robinson, though, the Titans pulled off the trade of the offseason, adding Jones to an already rock solid roster.

On the other hand, there will be two players in particular that will suffer following the acquisition of Jones as Titans wide receivers Josh Reynolds and Dez Fitzpatrick were once slated to have huge roles. Although both will still factor into the team’s offensive plans this season, there is a slim chance that Reynolds or Fitzpatrick make nearly the same impact now that Jones is officially on board.

To be clear, this is a very good problem for the Titans to have entering the upcoming campaign.

Titans WR Josh Reynolds

After spending the first four seasons of his NFL career as a member of the Los Angeles Rams, veteran wide receiver Josh Reynolds hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. With former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis inking a multi-year free agent contract with the New York Jets, Reynolds was brought in to Music City to help fill the void left across from Pro Bowl wide out AJ Brown. However, Reynolds seemed to be merely a short-term solution as the team’s no. 2 pass catcher as the longtime Rams wide receiver inked a one-year deal worth less than $2 million.

Now that the Titans added longtime Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones to the mix, Reynolds’ impact will immediately be diminished in 2021-22. Because Jones is under contract for the next few seasons with Brown slated to sign a long-term deal with the AFC South franchise, it could very well be a one-and-done for Reynolds down in Nashville. Now in line to serve as the franchise’s no. 3 wide out on a team that is still a pass-first squad, Reynolds will more than likely line up in the slot with the massive tandem of Jones and Brown streaking along the outside.

The one positive outcome for Reynolds in all of this, though, is that there literally won’t be enough defenders to account for all of the weapons that the Titans will be sporting on offense. If opposing defenses overcompensate for Jones, Brown, and running back Derrick Henry, Reynolds should find himself wide open more often than not.

Titans WR Dez Fitzpatrick

In the absence of New York Jets newcomer Corey Davis, New England Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith and Washington Football Team wide receiver Adam Humphries, it appeared as though the Tennessee Titans would be going with the tandem of AJ Brown and Josh Reynolds at the wide receiver position in 2021-22. Then the 2021 NFL Draft rolled around and the Titans selected former Louisville Cardinals wide out Dez Fitzpatrick in the fourth round at no. 109 overall.

Standing at 6’2″ while weighing over 210 pounds, the 23-year-old Fitzpatrick was no doubt slated to become a big part of the team’s offensive plans. Some even thought that the Titans reached a bit by selecting him so high, but now Fitzpatrick has fallen back to the no. 4 slot—if not the no. 5 slot—in the depth chart due to the addition of Jones.

It is worth noting, though, that the acquisition of Julio Jones may actually benefit Fitzpatrick in the end as well. Not only will Jones serve as a mentor to the up-and-coming pass catcher, but Fitzpatrick will have even more time to acclimate himself to the NFL threshold.