Through free agency and the draft, the New England Patriots have spent the duration of the offseason making seismic changes to both sides of the ball.
While the Patriots have added a plethora of impact players and are better positioned to compete now than they were at this time last year, they could still add arguably their most high-profile reinforcement to date if things break in their favor.
Which…seems like the kind of thing you should do, if given the chance.
As all fans are aware of by now, the Patriots have been widely pegged as one of the frontrunners to land Julio Jones, who demanded a trade earlier this offseason and confirmed the end of his Falcons tenure on national television this week.
It goes without saying the Patriots should exhaust every opportunity to land Jones, and word on the street is that he fancies the idea of playing in Foxborough.
So much so, in fact, that New England is one of Jones’ two preferred destinations (alongside the Titans), according to NBC analyst Chris Simms.
The Patriots are reportedly on Julio Jones’ wishlist of destinations.
Does it feel real yet, Patriots fans? While this obviously doesn’t confirm Jones will end up in New England, the fact he’s reportedly identified them as one of his two ideal landing spots bodes incredibly well for their chances to acquire him. Add in a longtime NFL exec pinpointing the Pats FIRST while speaking to FanSided this week, and the dots just seem to be lining up.
To say that the Patriots would benefit greatly from adding Jones would be an understatement, as they ranked 30th in the NFL in passing yards per game (180.6) last season. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising their receivers finished last with four touchdown catches.
However, for as optimistic as fans should feel after reading this report, the Titans will present some stiff competition in the race to land Jones. After all, the seven-time Pro Bowler is good friends with Derrick Henry and AJ Brown grew up idolizing him.
Not only have Jones and Henry been spotted working out together this offseason, but Brown already revealed he’d be willing to give up his No. 11 jersey (which he likely wears because of his adoration of Jones) to the Falcons superstar if a trade materialized.
Tennessee could also justify adding Jones after they lost some of their offensive firepower — Corey Davis (now a Jet) and Jonnu Smith, who signed with the Patriots — to free agency. For as much of a superstar as Brown is, the Titans’ pass-catching depth is incredibly thin behind him following those departures.
The bad news for the Titans? The Patriots have approximately $14 more million in remaining salary cap space, meaning it’d be easier for them to absorb Jones’ contract. His three-year, $66 million extension will come into play next season, which includes a $23.05 million cap hit.
They also don’t have the consensus greatest NFL head coach of all time in Bill Belichick. That seems kind of important, too.