Julio Jones Signs with Tampa Bay Buccaneers as Tom Brady Gets Another Weapon

by Nick Geddes

How does Tom Brady replace the production of a Hall of Fame tight end, you ask? He replaces him with a Hall of Fame receiver. That’s the answer, as it’s been during the entirety of the Brady era in Tampa Bay.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Julio Jones is signing a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Financials of the deal have yet to be disclosed. What’s for certain, however, is that there’s no rush for Rob Gronkowski to un-retire and return to Tampa Bay, if that’s in the plans.

Jones, 33, comes with a high pedigree. A seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, Jones has reeled in 879 receptions for 13,330 yards and 61 touchdowns over the course of his 11-year career. 10 of those came with the Atlanta Falcons, where Jones hit the 1,000-yard mark in seven seasons.

Julio Jones is similar to the Antonio Brown Signing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jones does have concerns, albeit not the same of Antonio Brown, another high-profile receiver who signed with the Buccaneers in 2020. Whereas Brown’s concerns were off-the-field, Jones’ are on (or his lack of) being on the field the past couple seasons.

Jones has suited up in just 19 games in the past two years, largely plagued by hamstring injuries. He featured in just 10 games during his first and lone season with the Tennessee Titans in 2021. Jones hauled in 31 receptions for 434 yards and one score. He wasn’t a hot commodity during the initial free agency window, although other teams were reportedly interested.

But he comes to Tampa Bay, back in the NFC South, once again. Jones figures to be insurance more than anything after the Buccaneers were ravaged with injuries to the wide receiver position last season. Chris Godwin, who is coming off a torn ACL, was cleared to begin training camp Wednesday, but isn’t guaranteed to be ready for Week 1. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay signed Russell Gage this offseason, a former teammate of Jones.

Mike Evans is still around, of course, who leads the NFL with 75 receiving touchdowns since 2014. Jones is the NFL’s all-time leader with 91.9 receiving yards per game.