After being in the NFL for 11 years, Julio Jones has made a name for himself as being one of the best wide receivers of his time. When Julio Jones and Matt Ryan were together in Atlanta, the two were unstoppable.
In 135 games with the Falcons, Julio Jones combined for 848 receptions, almost 13,000 yards, 60 TDs, and an average of almost 100 yards per game. If that doesn't scream elite, not much will.
That said, the last couple of seasons for Julio Jones have been tough-to-watch for those that have a connection to either him or the Atlanta Falcons.
With the Titans last season, Julio started in 10 games, and in those, he finished the season with 31 receptions, 434 receiving yards, and a single TD, all career lows for the once feared wideout. So, it's easy to see why Julio Jones fans are underwhelmed by his recent production.
However, can uniting with seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady on a one-year deal revitalize the career of Julio Jones for at least one more season?
Julio Jones Goes Deep One More Time with Tom Brady
The issue isn't that Julio isn't good anymore. The main issues with Julio Jones is age and injury history. No matter how good a player is, their most important ability is availability.
Now, Julio Jones is in a better situation this upcoming season than he was last season, as Tom Brady and the Buccaneers are a better spot for a receiver than being with Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans.
With Derrick Henry returning at the end of January 2022, the Titans will likely be back to running their offense through Derrick Henry, rather than airing the ball out.
In a Tom Brady-led offense, there will be passing, and there will be plenty of it. It won't be ill-advised passing, but with the receivers on the Buccaneers' offense, it'd be malpractice not to utilize them.
Prior to adding wide receiver Julio Jones, Tom Brady has two Pro-Bowl-caliber receivers to throw to with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in the Bucs receiving corps, but with Godwin going down with a torn ACL last year, and tight end Rob Gronkowski retiring for the second time, Julio Jones has all the opportunity in the world to go out and prove he's not done being a problem for opposing defenses.
However, if history repeats itself, Jones won't be on the field for more than 70% of offensive snaps. For the Buccaneers, they're hoping to get their money's worth with the signing of Julio Jones.
Is this a Hail Mary for Both Sides?
Jones signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers worth up to $6 million in the offseason, just a handful of days ahead of training camp. The 33-year-old receiver gets a nice payday to play with one of, if not, the greatest quarterbacks in NFL History.
Whether he'll be impactful or not, I have my doubts. As mentioned earlier, the best ability is availability, and with Julio Jones' age and injury history, the odds aren't in his favor.
However, will Tom Brady bring the best out of Julio Jones, or is this an instance of a player trying to continue a career that should've ended a year or so ago? It'll all play out this season, but again, the odds aren't in his favor to return to the Julio Jones that many NFL fans remember.
At the end of the day, it makes sense why Julio Jones would want to play with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. If this results in Julio Jones getting a ring- as long as he plays even 65% of the season- his nod to make the Hall of Fame becomes more likely for the seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro receiver out of Alabama.
Tom Brady ? Julio Jones
This could be scary. @brgridiron
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 28, 2022
The worst part about all of this is Julio Jones wearing No. 85. It should be a crime for Julio Jones to wear anything but No. 11. Seriously, former Jacksonville Jaguars first-round pick Blaine Gabbert shouldn't be the reason Jones goes out in an 85 jersey. As someone that puts too much stock into a player's jersey number, seeing Julio in an 85 jersey just about made me sick.
Give the man his number, Blaine!
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