The Tennessee Titans ended the Julio Jones experiment on Wednesday. A year after trading a pair of draft picks for the former Atlanta Falcons star, the Titans released him.
Now, Jones heads to free agency and is an interesting case. When healthy, he is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Jones has seven 1,000-yard seasons on his resume with seven Pro Bowl appearances and two All-Pro nominations.
However, he hasn’t seen the field much as of late. In the past two seasons, Jones has played a total of 19 games and posted career-lows with the Titans in 2021 with 31 catches, 434 yards, and just one touchdown.
So, what kind of market will Jones have? That is the big question, and the loaded 2022 NFL Draft class doesn’t help Jones’ case.
Nonetheless, teams should be interested in the veteran, especially if he takes a cheap deal to go try to win a championship. Here are four teams who should take a chance on Jones.
Kansas City Chiefs
Yes, Jones might be “just a name.”
But, the Kansas City Chiefs do not have a true No.2 receiver. MeCole Hardman and Byron Pringle haven’t proven to be that guy. The Josh Gordon experiment failed miserably.
Jones might not be a terrible option. So far, Kansas City has been quiet in free agency. Both Odell Beckham Jr. and JuJu Smith-Schuster were rumored options to be headed to join Patrick Mahomes. But neither player has signed yet.
Beckham likely goes back to the Los Angeles Rams, and who knows what JuJu does. The thought of an offense with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Jones is quite something. Who knows, maybe Jones has success with Mahomes throwing him the ball.
It might not work out, but it’s worth a shot. After all, the Chiefs signed Gordon after leaving the NFL for quite some time.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers don’t know what will happen with Davante Adams. He doesn’t want to play on the franchise tag, so the Packers have no choice but to give him a big deal.
Either way, Aaron Rodgers would be able to bring the best out of Jones — at least, bring out the best left in the veteran.
He would come cheap, and with Marquez Valdes-Scantling rumored to head elsewhere, Jones would slot in as the No. 2 WR. The Adams-Jones would be fun.
New England Patriots
This is where things get interesting.
The New England Patriots spent money on Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor last offseason and they played reasonably well.
But they still are missing a big body wide receiver and Mac Jones would love to have Julio on his side. Plus, how many times have we seen Bill Belichick squeeze every last drop from the tank?
Jones and Jakobi Meyers would be the starters, and who knows, maybe it works out and Jones returns to his top-tier form. The speed isn’t what it was, and health is an issue, so there are obvious concerns.
On the other hand, the Patriots kicked the tires on Cam Newton, so they aren’t opposed to adding seasoned veterans.
The best part about this would be the Jones to Jones connection. That would be fun.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Well, here we go. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t need more talent. But Jones is nearing the end of his career and still wants a shot to win a Super Bowl.
The Buccaneers give him the best shot to win a Super Bowl, and getting to play with Tom Brady is always something that wide receivers itch for. Apparently, Brady reached out to Jones already to recruit him.
Jones would join a formidable WR group of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Russell Gage (Jones’ old teammate on the Falcons). Rob Gronkowski is expected to be back, and at this rate, it would be shocking if Leonard Fournette doesn’t return as well.
Julio Jones might as well take a cheap one-year deal, play with the best QB to ever suit up, and make a run at the Super Bowl. He would be the No. 3 or No. 4 option on the WR depth chart and it would give him a chance to play a limited role, be relieved from the pressure, and go out there and enjoy the game on a winning team.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference