By Terrance Turner
July 26, 2022 (first drafted in March)
Wide receiver Julio Jones has signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero. This gives the seven-time Pro Bowler a chance to win an elusive Super Bowl ring — while playing with the quarterback who infamously took a Super Bowl away from Atlanta in 2017.
Jones was one of QB Matt Ryan’s most reliable targets when he played with the Atlanta Falcons. Jones, 33, is the Falcons’ career leader in catches (848) and yards (12,896) and is second to Roddy White in touchdown receptions (63). But he struggled to match that same production with the Tennessee Titans.
NBC Sports reports: “The Titans gave up a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick to get Jones, the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, from the Falcons, last year. But Jones managed just 31 catches for 434 yards and one touchdown — all career lows — in Tennessee. Jones missed seven games and wasn’t 100 percent for much of the season.”
NFL.com was similarly withering in its appraisal of Jones’ performance: “Injuries held Jones to just 10 games, and he was largely ineffective when on the field. Jones finished 2021 with 31 catches on 48 targets for 434 yards and one TD, all career lows. He generated just one regular-season game with more than 60 yards receiving.”
By designating Jones as a “post-June 1st” cut, the Titans saved over $9.5 million in salary cap and cash money, NFL.com reported. The move left receiver AJ Brown as one of the lone wideouts on the roster. Brown paid tribute to Jones via Twitter:
This move to Tampa Bay gives Jones a chance to play with one of the NFL’s all-time best players — quarterback Tom Brady — and marks his return to the NFC South, where he spent most of his career. Jones had what may be a Hall of Fame career in Atlanta. His 91.9 receiving yards per game is the best per-game average in NFL history. He also leads the NFL in receiving yards since 2014, and Bucs receiver Mike Evans leads the NFL in touchdown catches (75) during that span. Now, they’re both on the same team.