The Falcons traded away two of the biggest names in franchise history in the new regime’s first two offseasons. The most recent was Matt Ryan, who Atlanta shipped off to Indy for a third-round pick that was used on DeAngelo Malone.
While last offseason, the Falcons traded Julio Jones for a second-rounder that ended up becoming Troy Andersen. The Titans released Julio Jones earlier this offseason after just one season following the blockbuster deal, which effectively made Atlanta the winners of this trade.
When Jones forced his way out of Atlanta last spring, the Falcons were left to pick up the pieces and salvage what they could — netting second and fourth-round picks. For Tennessee, it seemed Jones would be the missing piece. Well, that never came to fruition. The Titans could not advance in the playoffs this year (similarly to the last), losing at home after their first-round bye.
Jones finished with six catches and 62 yards in the team’s AFC Divisional round loss to the Bengals. The former superstar receiver has dealt with nagging injuries the past couple of seasons, and his first season after departing Atlanta was no different. Jones had the worst statistical season of his career, totaling 31 receptions for 434 yards and only one touchdown. Those numbers are even worse than his 2013 campaign, when he only played in five games.
When the Titans acquired Jones for a second and fourth-round pick, many across the league felt Tennessee got away with murder. Well, in hindsight, it seems the Falcons sold at the right time, even if it wasn’t their decision.
However, it is a bit presumptuous to declare the Falcons winners. After all, Andersen hasn’t played a single snap. If the Montana State product can become a starting-caliber, three-down linebacker, Dean Pees and the rest of the organization should have no issues with shipping off the greatest receiver in franchise history. Jones is still a free agent, the Titans are left empty-handed, and the Falcons are moving forward.
Moving onto the Matt Ryan trade, which was a shockingly low return at the time. Much like the Jones trade, we won’t know how the trade shook out for another couple of seasons. If the Colts end up making it to the Conference Championship or Super Bowl, it’ll likely be a win for Indy. But that also depends on how DeAngelo Malone develops. There’s a possibility both sides come away from the transaction satisfied, but, from first glance, the Jones trade undoubtedly went the Falcons way, even if Andersen falls short of expectations.
The Falcons were able to rid the books of Jones’ bloated deal and kickstart the rebuild. Time will tell if the Ryan deal goes the same way.
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