When the 2022 NFL season begins, Tom Brady will be throwing passes to another future Hall of Famer. Receiver Julio Jones, who spent most of his career with the Atlanta Falcons before joining the Tennessee Titans in 2021, is reportedly heading back to the NFC South and signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the news on Tuesday.
Seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones is signing a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, per source. The soon-to-be 45-year Tom Brady now will have a chance to throw to the 33-year-old Jones.
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— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 26, 2022
The NFL world reacted in a big way to the news.
— Nathan Zegura (@NathanZegura) July 26, 2022
The Bucs had the NFL's deepest WR corps before they signed Julio. https://t.co/fSftKPRfGR
— Brent Sobleski (@brentsobleski) July 26, 2022
der ultimative Ring-Chaser-Move, gotta respect it https://t.co/62wG1pblFP
— Adrian Franke (@adrianbb89) July 26, 2022
Getting a receiver who can get yards but not touchdowns to pair with the tight end they just signed who can get touchdowns but not yards https://t.co/AB0FtBzAoV
— Arif Hasan, former hexagon (@ArifHasanNFL) July 26, 2022
Hopefully the Tampa weather keeps that hammy warm and loose https://t.co/kDU9qsvUtk
— Mitchell Schwartz (@MitchSchwartz71) July 26, 2022
Jones has definitely seen better days as a player, as injuries have done a lot to hinder his production over the last two seasons. He played in only nine games for the Falcons in 2020, catching 51 passes for 771 yards with three touchdowns. His 2021 season in Tennessee was similar, with Jones playing in only 10 games and catching 31 passes for 434 yards with one touchdown.
But from 2014-2019, Jones averaged more than 100 catches, better than 1,500 yards and six touchdowns per season. He never caught fewer than 83 passes or had less than 1,394 yards receiving in that stretch.
Given his injury history and the fact that he’s 33, it’s not realistic to expect that Jones will return to that form. Fortunately for Jones, the Buccaneers won’t need him to. Tampa has a deep group of receiving options for Tom Brady to throw to. As opposing defenses focus on Mike Evans and the other stars on Tampa’s offense, things should open up for Jones if he can stay on the field.