News and noise are run rampant this time of year. OTAs, volunteer, and rookie training camps are underway, and with them come the resurfacing of off-season rumors. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good rumor as much as the next guy, however, I wonder how many of them are news and how many of them are noise. NFL Sportswriters need something to write about after coaching vacancies have been filled, free agents have been signed, the draft is in the books, and the AFC and NFC draft grades have been awarded. Heck, I’m adding to it right now.
I will not, however, take the time to analyze every theory of a story that I believe to be noise. It’s a waste of my time and an insult to your intelligence. Though, I will take the time to tell you which stories I believe are news and which ones I have dubbed noise. Join me as we take a closer look into the rumors surrounding Julio Jones, Aaron Rodgers, and Tim Tebow.
NFL reporters have talked about a potential Julio Jones trade since a little while before the draft. They had him going to many different places, even I jumped into the chaos and predicted he would be traded to the Titans on draft day. After the draft, however, he was still a member of the Atlanta Falcons and the trade rumor started to die down.
Those rumors returned in full force this past week, as NFL social media had a lot to weigh in on the issue. DeAndre Hopkins has been one of the loudest voices to speak up, as he has attempted to directly recruit Julio Jones. Starting with an Instagram post in which he shared a memory:
— Jimmy (@JimbosSports) May 24, 2021
Sportscenter had this little follow up to another D-Hop post:
Julio Jones + DeAndre Hopkins?
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 21, 2021
AJ Brown added a few pitches of his own, trying to get Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans. Both a Twitter:
Julio to Tennessee now! pic.twitter.com/ixZNV7fApB
— AJ Brown (@1kalwaysopen_) May 26, 2021
And through DM on Instagram:
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) May 25, 2021
What does Julio have to say?
Julio Jones wants out of Atlanta, and he many it clear on Undisputed just over a week ago. Shannon Sharpe called him live while doing the show and asked if he was going to play for Atlanta. Julio replied, “No, I’m outta there.”
This is huge: Shannon Sharpe called Julio Jones live on @undisputed: Julio said he's "out of there" when asked if he wants to stay in Atlanta. He also said he doesn't want to go to the Cowboys. "I want to win."
Holy cow. I don't think he knew he was live. pic.twitter.com/5D8cXjclQt
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) May 24, 2021
Julio has wanted this trade since March and it has finally come completely out into the open.
What do the Falcons have to say?
Up until about a week ago, the Falcons haven’t said anything that would lead you to believe they had any interest in trading Julio Jones. It was a lot like noise/ Then, Julio made his intentions clear and the direct questions were asked. Eventually, the Falcons answered. They want to trade Jones, but they are going to wait for the perfect offer.
What might that look like? It sounds like they really want to send him out of the conference, to limit the chance of them having to face him. It also shoulds like they want at least a 1st round draft pick for the 32-year-old WR. This criterion limits the field down to desperate, win-now AFC teams that need a WR. It does, however, still leave interesting teams like the Colts, Patriots and Titans in the running. Who knows, maybe AJ Brown gets his wish.
News or Noise?
News. News. News. There is no other way to interpret it. Julio Jones wants to leave. The Falcons want him gone for the right price. The Falcons could use the cap space to negotiate with stud DT Grady Jarrett. Players are reaching out and using their influence. There will be some team that is willing to pay Atlanta’s price.
Where do I think Julio will go?
Tennessee Titans. I thought they would trade for him on draft day, and I have no reason to budge. Brown is reaching out to him and building repertoire. The Titans desperately need a WR to fill the void left by Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith. They are also close enough to contention where making the room is a no-brainer. I’d be shocked if he’s not playing for one of the AFC South contenders.
We have known for a while now that the relationship between the Green Bay Packers and their megastar QB Aaron Rodgers is very strained. Their conflict really began to swell when the Packers traded up to select QB Jordan Love in the first round of the draft last year. They selected Rodgers’ backup without telling him in advance, forgoing a chance to get him a weapon that would make a difference. With this move, they put him on a clock, when he knew he had plenty of time left.
What does Rodgers do? He leads his team to the number one seed in the NFC while putting up an MVP-winning season. He takes the Pack all the way to the NFC title game, driving with a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Then comes the next strike, his coach takes the ball out of his hands, kicks the field goal, and ultimately loses the game to the Bucs. Tom Brady still trolls Aaron Rodgers to this day.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) May 26, 2021
Rodgers was not happy and continued to voice his discontent until he dropped a bomb on the first day of the 2021 NFL draft. He requested a trade.
What did the Packers have to say?
“No. We’re not going to trade Aaron Rodgers.” Was the exact answer that GM Brian Gutekunst when he hosted a press conference on the topic. It is also rumored that the 49ers reached out to enquire about a trade and Green Bay wouldn’t allow them to give an offer.
Check out Gutekunst’s full press conference:
What does Aaron Rodgers say?
A lot of people say that Aaron Rodgers said a lot of things, including the “fact” that he requested a trade on draft day. None of it, however, can be confirmed by a legitimate video or audio clip and none of it can be seen on social media. Yes, it is true that he has slammed LeFleur and took shots at the Packers’ organization a few times, but all of it is passive-aggressive and none of it is direct.
We do know that he hasn’t shown up for the volunteer training camps, and rather posted pictures from his vacation in Hawaii. However, that merely falls under passive-aggressive behavior.
Aaron Rodgers is soaking it up in Hawaii 😎
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) May 26, 2021
Aaron Rodgers did send a very cryptic message when he was on the Pat McAfee Show about showing respect and people.
“Culture is built brick by brick, the foundation of it by the people – not by the organization, not by the building, not by the corporation. It’s built by people.” Was at the core of Rodgers’ message which ended with, “I think sometimes we forget that.”
For the full McAfee interview:
News or Noise?
Mostly noise. The story that Aaron Rodgers will be playing for another team in my opinion is 100% noise. The story that Rodgers will not play for the Packers is noise, as long as Green Bay man’s up and faces the true issue here. The news portion of this is that Rodgers is demanding a sign of respect from the organization. This story isn’t about him wanting to play for another team, it’s about the disrespect he was shown in the 2020 drat and the 2021 NFC title game.
What grounds do I have for this point of view? How about the fact that the Packers’ top 5 WRs didn’t show up for the first day of OTAs? They were clearly showing their support and RESPECTING Aaron Rodgers. Former teammates don’t do that sort of thing, teammates do. This shows that those WRs really believe that they will be catching passes from A-Rod next year.
Aaron Rodgers wasn't the only player missing from Packers OTAs. Green Bay's top 5 WRs were also reportedly missing:
– St. Brown
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) May 25, 2021
What do I think should happen with Rodgers?
The Green Bay Packers need to extend Rodgers’ contract and make him the second-highest-paid QB in the NFL (behind Patrick Mahomes). This story is 100% about respect, and offering him this contract proves that they believe he is their foreseeable future and more importantly, he is their guy.
Plain and simple, this story is that Tim Tebow has made his comeback to the NFL after not being on a team since 2015. The Jacksonville Jaguars signed him as a TE to be a weapon and mentor for rookie QB Trevor Lawrence. Afterall. why wouldn’t you like a stand-up guy like Tim Tebow on your team?
What the Jaguars had to say?
If the Jaguars’ press release of signing Tim Tebow has anything to say of their opinion of him then it must be high. For their normal signings, it was mostly a facts-in-brief, for him, it was a full life=story and bio. He appears to be a valuable asset in their eyes.
As for Urban Meyer, he thinks that Tebow still has much to offer as an NFL player, let alone a mentor. AS for some of what the coaches said about him, “Wow, this guy’s ball skills, he’s a great athlete, he looks like he’s 18 years old, not 20-whatever-he-is, 33.” Meyers added, “Guys, you don’t understand. Now this guy is, he’s the most competitive maniac you’re ever gonna talk to, and let’s give it a shot.”
Here is what Meyers said in an interview with Chris Collinsworth:
What does Tim Tebow say?
All of the right things. He’s grateful to be back. He will work hard to earn his spot. He is grateful for the Jaguars’ organization. He looks forward to the competition. He is remaining humble through the process and looking forward to his future with this rebuilding franchise.
New or Noise?
Almost all of this story is noise. The thought that he will be a productive player is 100% based on nothing. He’s been out of the league for 6 years and has switched his position at the age of 33. He hasn’t played in a game in 8 years. We already had the greatest sports comeback of all time in Alex Smith last year. This is merely a blip in the shadow of irrelevance. He might make the team, but will see little to no playing time.
Relevance as a mentor? I hold to a theory that has gotten many people pissed off at me in the past concerning both Tim Tebow and Colin Kaepernick. There is a taboo to talk about but a very real drama to talent ratio that defines how much a player is allowed to get away with before a team moves on from them. The more talent you have the more crap you can get away with, but it can eventually catch up with anyone (Antonio Brown).
I know people praise Tebow for how great of a mentor he could be, but I still see the backup QB who had a press conference and flew into practice on a private jet as a member of the New York Jets. Back-up QBs should keep a much lower profile, regardless of who they are. His very presence brings fanfare and distractions. These are the very things that create a divide between him and Trevor Lawrence. I’m not buying the mentor angle.
So what part of this is new? The revenue. The day Tim Tebow signed he had the top 5 selling items in the NFL shop. He is making them money, he is generating hype and he is furthering the Jaguars brand. And he probably will continue to do so until he is either cut or barely makes the 53 man roster. So yes, there is a story here, and it is all about the money.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 21, 2021
What do I think?
Honestly, I hold nothing against the guy and I hope he proves me wrong. Antonio Brown overcame and corrected his drama to talent ratio and became a valuable member of the Bucs Super Bowl Championship team. Even if he does that, however, Tebow still won’t be a productive member on the field. At best, this story amounts to nothing more than signing a nice QB coach. That is not what I would call news.
We all do it. We all love to hype up stories into more than they really are. I have done it myself numerous times and will continue to do it in the future. You want to know why? The sexy headline sells. And though I personally have no intentions of pushing against that, I will from time to time offer something like the above to bring a little bit of perspective.
This doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the speculation. Argue with your friends about which teams Rodgers and Julio will play for. Just remember that not all rumors are created equally. Some will come to fruition and others were nothing more than headlines. Either way enjoy it, we need something to get us through a long off-season.
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