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Alabama in the Pros

Three NFL teams who should roll the dice on Julio Jones

Julio Jones and AJ Brown shake hands before game
Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

As it currently stands veteran wide receiver Julio Jones is still a free agent without any clear potential leads.

After 10 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Jones was dealt to the Tennessee Titans prior to the start of the 2021 year. Jones was expected to be a top-end complementary receiver to the Titans’ young up-and-coming wideout AJ Brown, but things didn’t go as planned.

Jones battled injuries throughout the season and seldomly resembled his performance of the past when he was on the field. In 10 games Jones recorded 31 receptions for 434 yards along with just one touchdown which were all career worsts. Shortly following the conclusion of the season Jones was released and has remained unsigned.

Although Jones finds himself in unfamiliar waters on the backend of his career, there are still a few franchises who should take a chance on the 33-year-old.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have been amongst the team’s most heavily rumored to be connected with Jones. Even with the emergence of young wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, Dallas still has a need for the supporting roles around him. During the earlier stages of the offseason, the Cowboys traded away another former Alabama receiver Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns.

Cooper was the team’s second-leading receiver in 2021 but had to be moved as a part of a cap casualty. Another key loss for Dallas’ receiving corps came when Cedric Wilson signed with the Miami Dolphins after having a breakout season of his own.

The offense still has experienced receiver Michael Gallup returning after battling some injuries of his own last season, but outside of that, the current group is made up of mostly unproven options. This makes Jones a prime option to help support quarterback Dak Prescott and the offense.

Jones won’t be asked to be the top option but could provide a secondary threat to defenses to try and help open up the rest of the aerial attack.

Green Bay Packers

Another receiver-hungry team is the Green Bay Packers, who are in desperate need of anything in that department. In one of the more surprising trades of the offseason, the Packers dealt star receiver, Davante Adams, to the Las Vegas Raiders leaving Aaron Rodgers without his top target.

Since the trade, the Packers haven’t exactly been aggressive in finding any form of a replacement for Adams. It’s obvious that there isn’t one sweeping signing any team can make that immediately fills the void left by a player like Adams but banking on the development of fifth-year receiver Allen Lazard and hoping for the best on signing Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb shouldn’t exactly be comforting to Packers fans.

This is why taking a chance on Jones would be in the Packers’ best interest. If his great days are truly behind him then the Packers are right back in the situation they expected to be in. But if he still has something left in the tank and can help balance the offense then it’s a massive win for Green Bay.

Kansas City Chiefs

If pursuing a championship is what’s most on Jones’ mind then there may not be a better destination to land than the Kansas City Chiefs but signing Jones may be in its best interest anyway.

The Chiefs are another team who lost a key receiver after the franchise traded away Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins. It was able to promptly find a few replacements by signing former Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and former Packers wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling but Jones could be the final piece to put the Chiefs over the top.

Even if Jones has lost a step or two it never hurts to pair yourself with a star quarterback like Patrick Mahomes to help extend your career. Having Jones on the roster could also pay dividends for the younger receivers on the roster to help them learn from one of the best wide receivers of his generation.

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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