June 1st looms large in 2021 NFL off-season for Titans

Sports

FILE – In this Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, file photo, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) warms up before an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in Atlanta. The Atlanta Falcons began their offseason training program Tuesday, May 25, 2021, without longtime star receiver Julio Jones, who apparently has no intention of returning to a rebuilding team that is still struggling to get under the salary cap. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik, File)

June 1st could bring another barrage of big off field action in the NFL and have several major stars like Julio Jones and Aaron Rodgers in new uniforms.

On June 1st teams can waive or trade players and spread their remaining “dead” money over the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

The Atlanta Falcons are slammed by the salary cap and could gain some relief by trading mega star Julio Jones. Trading Jones sends his $15.3-million salary elsewhere and doing it after June 1st saves them that $15.3-million against the cap in 2021 while leaving only $7.75-million in dead money and $15.5-million in dead money 2022. The Falcons still save over $3-million against the cap in 2022 in this scenario.

The Tennessee Titans are one of the teams reportedly in the market for Jones. The Falcons are reported to want a first round pick for him, but with the Falcons cap situation they are not in a position of negotiating strength and are not expected to get a straight Jones for (1) swap.

ProFootballTalk reported belief is the Titans will ultimately wind up with Jones for a second round pick. ESPN has called the Titans a “long shot” to get him.

Wide receiver looks to be a big need for the Titans who only have two veteran players on the roster with Pro Bowler AJ Brown and Josh Reynolds who they just signed to a 1-year deal from the Rams.

If the Titans fail to land Jones there will be other cap casualties that can help them. The Jets are expected to release wide receiver Jamison Crowder and the Giants Sterling Shepherd in two more money saving moves.

Titans general manager Jon Robinson could also opt to go after a tight end. Tyler Eifert and MyCole Pruitt are still available in free agency but former Pro Bowler Zach Ertz has a cap number over $12-million and is expected to be waived by the Philadelphia Eagles to relieve their cap situation. The 30-year old Ertz is coming off of an injury plagued 2020 season but has over 500 receptions and 6000 yards for his career.

Every year several moves are made this time of year to help teams against the cap, this year though the movement could be unprecedented and could create a third waive of free agency in the process.

The Titans are one of those teams that are “cap strapped”, but with Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill in their prime could be buyers with that window only open for so long.

Will Robinson and the Titans go all in or stand pat for 2021? This week we should learn a lot.

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