Theoretically, the two should be a perfect fit. Aaron Rodgers would strongly benefit from having a battle-tested receiver in his arsenal after the Packers shockingly traded Davante Adams, arguably the game’s top wideout, to the Las Vegas Raiders for multiple draft picks. Although Jones will play all of next season at 33 years old, he could still have something in the tank even after an injury-shortened 2021 campaign.
Should the Packers sign Jones following Adams’ departure? The answer isn’t as simple as one might think.
Pros: Julio Jones would be a welcome veteran presence after the Davante Adams trade
Jones’ resume speaks for itself, especially after he hauled in 623 catches, 9,388 yards, and 37 touchdowns from 2014-19; that’s a 104-catch, 1,565-yard, 6-touchdown average, which is why he should expect to find himself in contention for the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he’s eventually eligible.
Perhaps above all else, Jones has seen the highs of playoff runs and the lows of multiple losing seasons. He also witnessed the Atlanta Falcons’ infamous Super Bowl 51 collapse up close, and in this instance, that’s about as rock bottom as things get.
No one is suggesting Jones’ past success and dominance will translate into an 80-catch, 1,000-yard season for the Packers in 2022. However, his veteran presence surely would carry over, and it’d be even more welcome if Green Bay finally wisens up and adds a young receiver in the first round of April’s draft.
The Packers need someone who has been around the league and who’s seen it all and done it all. Jones fits that description perfectly, and he’d be a welcome locker room addition even if his best days are behind him.
Cons: Jones isn’t getting any younger, and he hasn’t been his old self since 2019
As recently as 2019, Jones earned second-team All-Pro honors and, after a stellar age-30 season, appeared primed to carry his elite play into the 2020s.
Reality hasn’t been so kind.
Injuries limited Jones to 51 catches, 771 yards, and three touchdowns during the 2020 season, his final with the Falcons. He looked slow after joining the Tennessee Titans last year and only totaled 31 catches, 434 yards, and a single touchdown in 10 games. However, he showed signs of coming alive late in the season and tallied six catches for 62 yards in the Titans’ AFC Divisional Round loss to Joe Burrow and the upstart Cincinnati Bengals.
If the Packers signed Jones, there’s no guarantee he could even be a reliable No. 2 receiver at this stage in his career. One can’t blame last year’s issues on quarterback play, even if Ryan Tannehill did struggle with turnovers at points throughout the season.
If the Titans believed in Jones’ chances of a bounceback year, they wouldn’t have cut him less than a year after sending two draft picks to the Falcons.
Should the Packers try to sign Jones?
In his prime, Jones resembled Hall of Fame receiver Terrell Owens, who terrorized defenses throughout the late 1990s and the 2000s. However, unlike Owens, Jones typically avoided drama and controversy. He was — and remains — a player who does everything in his power to win games and keep the attention on the team rather than himself.
It might be time for Jones to emulate Owens once again.
Late in his career, Owens settled for one-year deals with the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. He wanted to play, and he wanted to win a Super Bowl, so he compromised and took less money than he likely would have hoped to earn. Despite his age and continued love for the spotlight, the All-Pro wideout remained a potent weapon for both teams into his late 30s.
If Jones is willing to settle for a one-year deal, he should absolutely look into joining the Packers. Rodgers needs more weapons, and Jones, even if he’s not the All-Pro player he was in the late 2010s, can fill that role so long as he’s healthy. A one-year, $5 million deal won’t kill the Packers if the veteran wideout struggles or can’t stay healthy.
Green Bay will need to find a capable veteran receiver sooner rather than later. Jones checks every box, and he’ll likely come cheap, which should only increase the Packers’ interest.
If only the Packers still had Davante Adams, right?