The Cincinnati Bengals were never in the conversations surrounding Julio Jones but after seeing what the Titans gave up to land him, they very well could have been. The Titans sent a second-round pick in next year’s draft along with a 2023 fourth-round pick and sixth-round pick to Atlanta in exchange for Jones per Adam Schefter.
This is certainly something the Bengals could have relinquished but fortunately for them, they weren’t in need of Jones. It’s a nice luxury to say that the Bengals weren’t in need of an All-Pro wide receiver who has totaled 1,000+ yards in all but three seasons during his decade-long career, but that’s exactly what the case is for this team.
Cincinnati drafted Ja’Marr Chase No. 5 overall and he’ll skyrocket into the WR1 spot on the roster. The thing to keep in mind here is that the Bengals didn’t even need to draft Chase there, as they have two other promising wide receivers in Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins along with Auden Tate as well. Trading for Jones would have made the receiver room pretty crowded.
The Bengals didn’t trade for Julio Jones but they could have afforded the asking price.
Looking at this deal, it could be argued that it was good for both sides. The Titans got an All-Pro wide receiver that can now line up opposite A.J. Brown while the Falcons got three future draft picks for a 32-year-old receiver who has an 83% chance of getting injured in 2021 per Sports Injury Predictor.
The Bengals’ offense is loaded with weapons and if they’re going to make any trade this offseason on that side of the ball, it should be for an offensive lineman of some kind or a tight end. They made it a point to address the o-line in the draft and free agency but the more bodies to have as depth for that unit, the better. Meanwhile, the tight end position wasn’t addressed at all in the offseason.
Cincinnati also could use defensive help, as their pass-rush was abysmal last year and they ranked last in sacks. They also need linebackers and that’s still a position that needs fine-tuning before the season officially kicks off. These are the trades the Bengals need to make before training camp gets underway and not the blockbuster ones that wouldn’t benefit the team.
Watching Jones catch passes from Joe Burrow would have been fun, but it wasn’t necessary for Cincinnati to make that move, so they wisely passed on even throwing their hat into the ring.