One of the final big-name wide receivers on the free agent market has settled on his next home. Julio Jones, the longtime Atlanta Falcons receiver and brief member of the Tennessee Titans, is headed back to the NFC South to sign a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This decision gives the Bucs and quarterback Tom Brady an even more embarrassing assortment of riches at wide receiver, as Jones joins Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, among others. Although Jones had a down year by his standards in 2021 — he recorded just 434 yards and one touchdown in ten games with the Titans — he remains an impressive physical specimen and a viable deep threat.
However, immediately after breaking the news, ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed that the Packers were among the other teams interested in Jones, with Green Bay being the only team besides the Buccaneers that he mentioned specifically:
Julio Jones drew interest from, amongst others, the Green Bay Packers and Buccaneers. But Tampa was the most aggressive in giving its QB a new offensive weapon.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 26, 2022
As it stands currently, the Packers have no shortage of bodies at the wide receiver position following the 2022 NFL Draft, when they selected Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Samori Toure. Those three players will jockey for position on a depth chart that also includes Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins, and Amari Rodgers, among others.
Still, Jones would have given the Packers another respected veteran receiver with big-play ability to bolster a position group that has far more questions than answers. Even though Jones comes with his own questions — for example, he has played just 9 and 10 games in 2020 and 2021, respectively — the the upside to bringing him into the fold may have been worth a gamble.
Terms of Jones’ deal with the Buccaneers are not yet known, and the final number on his contract could very well explain why the Packers did not land a deal. But regardless of the reason, the Packers’ only exposure to Jones in 2022 will come in week three, when Green Bay travels to play the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.