After a few weeks of rumors, reports, and a picture of Julio Jones wearing a Dallas Cowboys hoodie, the star wide receiver has a new home. On Sunday, the Tennessee Titans traded for Jones, shaking up the NFL in the process.
The #Falcons get a 2022 2nd round pick and Atlanta gets the titans 4 in 2023 and they give back their 6 in 2023.
The Titans get Julio Jones.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 6, 2021
Jones will play alongside A.J. Brown in an offense that also features Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. The Titans, already regarded as the favorites to win the AFC South, get a great boost for their wide receiver unit.
In fact, this move moves Tennessee up in the WR rankings in the NFL. Forget about the trade details and the compensation for a while. The fact is A.J. Brown and Julio Jones will be one of the very best wide receiver duos in the league – if not the best.
This raises the question among Cowboys fans… Where do the Dallas Cowboys rank among wide receiver units?
Recently, Cole Patterson wrote about the Cowboys’ being #4 in Bleacher Report’s “Best WR Duo” article. After the Julio Jones trade, the Titans should probably push down the Cowboys to #5 in those rankings.
But even though the Titans’ Brown-Jones duo might be second to none, the NFL is a three-wide-receiver league. Most of the time, offenses take the field with 11 personnel. A slot wide receiver can be just as important as an outside receiver in some teams.
That’s where the Cowboys become one of the strongest units in the league. As CeeDee Lamb heads to his second year with the Cowboys, it’s unclear who will be WR2 behind Amari Cooper.
Considering what Michael Gallup and Lamb bring to the table, it wouldn’t even be that surprising if Cooper doesn’t finish the season as the most targeted receiver on the team.
The Cowboys’ three starters can all line up inside and outside providing the potential to exploit specific matchups week in and week out. The three of them are very good route runners with reliable hands and they’ve all shown the ability to make contested catches consistently.
In a recent article, Pro Football Focus ranked the Dallas Cowboys as the second best receiving corps (including tight ends) unit in the league. The elite unit formed by Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb ranked only behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which features Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, and even Scotty Miller.
The PFF article published in June 2nd ranked the Top 5 the following way:
- TB Bucs
- DAL Cowboys
- KC Chiefs
- BUF Bills
- MIN Vikings
Of course, the article was published before the Julio Jones trade happened and it ranked the Titans all the way down at 29th. With Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith leaving the team, Ryan Tannehill & Co. needed help desperately.
Even with Julio in Tennessee, the Dallas Cowboys have little competition when it comes to receiving corps. There’s an argument to be made that they have the best unit in the league. But the fact that the Bucs are the reigning, defending Super Bowl champions and the Cowboys are coming off a 6-10 season, it’s easy to think otherwise.
Factor in the tight end position, in which the Cowboys have Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz ready to compete for the starting role and they gain another edge. Not to mention, Dak Prescott will be back with his two starting tackles as he tries to win Comeback Player of the Year honors and lead the Cowboys back to the playoffs.
Featured image via Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports