Indianapolis Colts: Julio Jones trade makes Titans AFC South favorites

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 08: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 08: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts looked ready to finally seize control of the division from the Tennessee Titans, as the losses of Arthur Smith and Jonnu Smith could be a major weight dragging down one of the league’s most explosive offenses. Of course, that assumption was made before the Julio Jones trade saga.

With the Falcons apparently headed for a very long rebuild, Jones requested a trade to a team with a strong-armed quarterback and the capacity to win now. Carson Wentz and Indianapolis check both of those boxes, but the Colts were beaten to the punch by a division rival.

The Titans needed someone with more upside than Josh Reynolds to take over Corey Davis’ snaps, and they filled that hole in a big way by trading for Jones in a move that sent shockwaves throughout the rest of the league.

The official terms of the deal show that the Falcons will get a second-round pick this year and a fourth-round pick next year, while the Titans will get Jones and a sixth-rounder in 2023. Chris Ballard might’ve traded some draft picks to get Wentz, but that didn’t necessarily exclude him from adding Jones as well.

The Colts saw Julio Jones go to the rival Titans.

Jones is still as good as he is expected to be, as his poor yardage totals were due to the fact he missed some time due to injury. Sure, taking on a big contract and an older player with injury concerns isn’t ideal, but for someone of Jones’ caliber, you make that trade 100 times out of 100.

The Colts are still dealing with some question marks at wide receiver, as Michael Pittman Jr. only has one year in the pros, TY Hilton is starting to diminish with age, and Parris Campbell has brittle bone disease and will be placed on IR if he sneezes too violently. Jones instantly takes those questions away.

The Colts do have a good secondary, and Xavier Rhodes has actually had some success against Jones, but trying to slow down Jones, Reynolds, and AJ Brown all at the same time, to say nothing of the 245-pound combine harvester of a running back in Derrick Henry, is going to give Matt Eberflus some headaches Chris Ballard could’ve helped avoid if he was more proactive. 

The Titans haven’t run away with this division just yet, and the Colts still have some advantages over them, but this move will move an already deadly Tennessee offense into hyperdrive.

It’s all good in Indy, though! They’ve got Zach Pascal.