Julio Jones

Nine Teams Gain Cap Space From Post-June 1 Cuts

Although early June no longer serves as a stretch in which a wave of veterans are released for cap-saving purposes, June 2 still serves as an important calendar date for certain teams annually. Nine teams qualify as beneficiaries this year.

Eleven players were designated as post-June 1 cuts this year, via CBS Sports’ Joel Corry. Due to a longstanding CBA provision, teams that designate players as post-June 1 releases see the dead-money burden lessened for that year. Teams can designate up to two players as post-June 1 releases each year.

Here are 2022’s post-June 1 cuts, along with the belated cap savings the teams picked up Thursday:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Las Vegas Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

As detailed in PFR’s glossary, post-June 1 cuts spread dead-money hits over two years. These teams will be taking on dead money this year and next. A few of the 2023 hits are substantial, but the league’s cap-space hierarchy changed significantly Thursday as well.

Because of multiple restructures, Raiders will carry $9.9MM in Littleton dead money next year. The Cowboys will take on $8.7MM in 2023 for cutting Collins, while the Titans will be hit with $8.4MM for their Jones release. Cleveland, which just gave David Njoku a $14.2MM-per-year deal, will carry a $7.5MM dead-money cost next year due to shedding Hooper’s eight-figure-AAV deal early. The Eagles will be tagged with $11.5MM for their Cox cut, with Corry noting that is the net difference because of a $3.2MM salary cap credit regarding Cox’s 2022 bonus proration. Philadelphia re-signed the perennial Pro Bowler on a one-year, $14MM deal.

Hooper’s release pushes Cleveland’s cap space to beyond $40MM; the Browns’ overall cap-space edge is now a whopping $15MM. That should help the team address multiple needs ahead of training camp. Other teams have more options now, too. As of Thursday, the Raiders hold the NFL’s third-most cap space ($22.5MM, per OverTheCap). The $10MM the Cowboys saved moves them up to fourth in cap space ($22.49MM), while the Bears ($22.2MM), Commanders ($18.4MM) and Seahawks ($17MM) now sit fifth, sixth and seventh.

A handful of this year’s post-June 1 cut crop joined Cox in taking advantage of the modern setup, which allows these cap casualties to become free agents immediately — rather than waiting until June to hit the market. In place since the 2006 CBA, this adjustment let veterans loose early while keeping their cap figures on teams’ payrolls through May. Collins quickly joined the Bengals, while Littleton landed with the Panthers, Hooper signed with the Titans, and Phillips returned to the Bills. The remainder of this group remains unsigned. The savings this lot of teams inherited Thursday may help some of these players’ causes in free agency.

Packers Eyeing Veteran WR Addition?

The initial waves of free agency, as well as the draft, have come and gone but there are still teams looking to add at the receiver position. One of those teams, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, is the Packers. 

When speaking on The Pat McAfee Show, Rapoport predicted that “the Packers are going to be involved in this [receiver] market” (video link). Brand-name players such as Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones and Jarvis Landry are all still available as post-draft free agents, but attention should increasingly be turned towards them in the coming days and weeks. On that point, the latter has recently been named as a target of the Ravens.

Green Bay was able to keep a number of core pieces in place on both sides of the ball this offseason. Two of their most notable departures, though, were of course Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. While they did sign Sammy Watkins in the build-up to the draft, many expected Green Bay to be aggressive in adding further to the position. With the top options off the board by the time of their pair of first-round picks, however, they bolstered their front seven, waiting until Day 2 to trade up for Christian Watson. The following day, Romeo Doubs was selected as well.

Those three join returnees Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers. Sitting towards the bottom of the league in terms of cap space, Green Bay likely wouldn’t be able to win a bidding war for any of the top remaining options; as Rapoport notes, however, the team would represent an attractive destination on a short-term, incentive-laden deal. As they try to keep their Super Bowl window open as long as possible, then, the Packers will likely still remain a team worth watching at the position.

Titans To Release Julio Jones

The Titans will make Julio Jones a one-and-done in Tennessee. The future Hall of Fame wide receiver will be released, Dianna Russini and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com report (on Twitter).

Tennessee traded a second-round pick for Jones last year, but the longtime Atlanta star could not shake the hamstring trouble that plagued him during his final Falcons season. If the Titans do not designate Jones as a post-June 1 cut, they will take on more than $13MM in dead money. The Titans are, in fact, using the June 1 designation Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This will save the team more than $9MM this year.

While this will make Jones a first-time free agent, he is not hitting the market with momentum. The All-Decade wideout ripped off a record-setting stretch from 2014-19, surpassing 1,390 yards in each season and making six straight Pro Bowls. But injury absences began to pile up in 2020. That proved to be a bad sign for the Titans, who could only get 10 games out of the high-level trade acquisition.

Jones caught just 31 passes for 434 yards — both career-low marks; even Jones’ five-game 2013 season produced better numbers — and saw his hamstring injury keep leading to missed time. Tennessee’s Jones-A.J. Brown tandem did not come to fruition, with Brown also struggling on the health front. But Brown will be due a big payday soon. Jones’ Falcons-constructed contract will no longer be part of the Titans’ equation at that point.

Having turned 33 this offseason, Jones may attract some interest. Draft classmate A.J. Green managed to land a reasonable Cardinals deal despite an injury-marred ending to his Bengals run. Any Jones contract figures to be a fairly low-cost deal, however. He signed a $22MM-per-year extension with the Falcons in 2019; two years remained on that pact prior to Wednesday’s move.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/3/22

Here are Monday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: OT Mike Remmers (remains on IR)

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: RB Raymond Calais (remains on IR)

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Titans Activate Julio Jones

The Titans have activated Julio Jones from the COVID-19/Reserve list, per a club announcement. The wide receiver is now eligible to face the Texans with an opportunity help the Titans score a first-round bye. 

[RELATED: Titans Place Pruitt On IR]

Jones is in the midst of an uncharacteristically quiet season. Between his recent COVID list stint and a lingering hamstring injury, he’s appeared in just nine games with 26 catches, 376 yards, and zero touchdowns. On the plus side, his hammy is said to be better, so Jones could be primed for some vintage performances.

In 2019, Jones’ last full season, he notched 1,394 yards and six TDs off of 99 receptions. And, even in an injury-dampened 2020, the multiple-time Pro Bowler managed 51 grabs for 771 yards and three scores in his nine games.

Meanwhile, the Titans have officially placed tight end MyCole Pruitt on the injured reserve list. This was the expected move following Pruitt’s gruesome ankle injury on Sunday, one that will require surgery and months of rehab.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 12/29/21

Several key players returned to practice Wednesday. Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Rico Bussey

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Titans To Activate WR Julio Jones From IR

Julio Jones will be in uniform for the Titans tomorrow when they take on the Jaguars. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), the Titans plan to activate the veteran wide receiver off injured reserve. Jones returned to practice earlier this week.

A hamstring injury has limited Jones to just six games so far this season. Last month, the Titans moved to place him on IR, freeing up an additional roster spot for a few weeks. Jones missed time in previous seasons with a hamstring ailment, as well. Fortunately, Rapoport says Jones’ latest hamstring injury “has healed.”

Jones was limited to only nine games and 771 yards in 2020, but he was a 1,000-yard receiver as recently as 2019 (when he was a second-team All-Pro after finishing with 99 receptions for 1,394 yards and six touchdowns). So, the Titans were naturally expecting big things this past offseason when they acquired Jones (along with a sixth-round pick) from the Falcons for a second-round pick and a future fourth-round pick. However, in the veteran’s six games this season, he’s averaging only 56 receiving yards per game, a major dip from his previous career-low (73.8 yards during his rookie campaign in 2011).

Still, Jones will be welcomed back with open arms by a Titans offense that had to go without Jones, A.J. Brown, and Derrick Henry in their most recent loss to the Patriots.

Titans Designate Julio Jones For Return

The Titans have designated wide receiver Julio Jones for return from injured reserve. Jones will be eligible to practice starting today, which means that he can be activated any time within the next 21 days.

[RELATED: Former Titans S Kenny Vaccaro Retires From NFL]

A hamstring injury has limited Jones to just six games so far this season. Last month, the Titans moved to place him on IR, freeing up an additional roster spot for a few weeks.

Jones, who has a history of hamstring trouble, has caught 21 passes for 336 yards and no touchdowns so far in his first Titans season. The good news is that the Titans are still 8-4, despite playing most of the year without Jones or star running back Derrick Henry.

The 11th-year receiver could come back as soon as Sunday, the Titans’ first game off of their bye week. A win will put them one step closer to officially clinching the AFC South and, potentially, capturing a first-round bye.

Titans Place Julio Jones On IR

The hamstring injury Julio Jones has battled this season will cost him three more games. The Titans placed the standout wide receiver on IR Saturday.

Jones suffered a setback in practice Thursday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. This continues an injury-plagued season for the recently relocated wide receiver. Jones has missed three games already this year and has a history of hamstring trouble.

The injury issues Jones encountered last year resulted in a lesser trade market, but the Falcons still collected a second-round pick from the Titans. Jones, 32, has yet to deliver for a Tennessee team that has managed to reach 7-2 despite frequent injury concerns. A.J. Brown has missed time, and Derrick Henry is now out for an extended stretch — perhaps the rest of the regular season.

Jones, 32, has caught 21 passes for 336 yards and no touchdowns in his first Titans season. He has not been able to consistently display the top form he showed in Atlanta and is now sidelined until at least Week 14. These issues come after a 2020 season in which Jones also experienced a hamstring injury and subsequent setbacks. Jones’ final Falcons season included a strained left hamstring in Week 2 and three ensuing aggravations, leading to seven missed games.

With Tennessee’s bye in Week 13, this will give Jones a month off. That could make a difference for the 11th-year receiver, who will miss games against the Saints, Texans and Patriots. The Titans sit atop the AFC and are clearly hoping this hiatus will produce a better version of Jones when he returns in mid-December.

A.J. Brown To Play In Week 5, Julio Jones Still Out

As they seek to rebound from an ugly loss to the Jets last week, the Titans will see the return of one of their top playmakers. As Turron Davenport of ESPN.com writes, wide receiver A.J. Brown — who missed the matchup with the Jets due to a hamstring injury — was a full participant in practice this week and will suit up for this afternoon’s divisional bout against the Jaguars.

“A.J. has worked hard and progressed to the point where based off of what he did today we can expect him to play on Sunday,” head coach Mike Vrabel said.

Brown sustained the hamstring injury in the first quarter of Tennessee’s Week 3 victory over the Colts, and he failed to record a catch during his brief time on the field. For the season, he has been targeted 19 times but has recorded just seven catches for 92 yards and a score.

The news is not as good for marquee trade acquisition Julio Jones, Brown’s running mate at wide receiver. Like Brown, Jones suffered a hamstring injury in the Titans’ Week 3 contest, but he has now missed two consecutive weeks of practice and will be unable to play against Jacksonville today. He remains Tennessee’s leading receiver, having posted 12 catches for 204 yards this year, though he has yet to find the endzone for his new club.

Despite the loss to the previously winless Jets, the Titans remain atop the weak AFC South with a 2-2 record.