As training camp kicked off on Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a roster move sparking frenzy in the football world. Seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones signed a one-year deal, adding to an embarrassment of riches in Tampa Bay's offensive powerhouse led by Tom Brady. After causing the Bucs' defense consistent fits over the years, Jones joins his former NFC South rival. He fills the vacancy that opened after the club released tight end Codey McElroy on Tuesday, bringing the camp total to 90.
Brady's talented receiving cast features Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Jones' former Atlanta teammate, Russell Gage Jr. Godwin's timetable for return following an ACL tear in December is undetermined and Jones solidifies the depth chart. Leading into the playoff run last season, the Buccaneers faced an exorbitant number of injuries at receiver. Jones provides insurance against injury in a 17-game regular season.
The 33-year-old spent the 2021 season with the Tennessee Titans after an illustrious career spanning a decade with the Atlanta Falcons. Throughout his prolific career, Jones has accumulated 879 receptions for 13,330 yards and 61 touchdowns. He has seven seasons surpassing the 1,000-yard receiving marker, serving as an offensive catalyst. With game-wrecking speed and precision on routes, Jones is a nightmare for defensive coordinators with his ability to win over the top. During his campaign in Nashville, Jones battled injuries and spent part of the 2021 season on injured reserve. He was released on March 16 as a post-June 1 designation by the Titans and has the opportunity to become a significant contributor for the Buccaneers.
His arrival onto the scene begs the question, how will he fit in Tampa Bay's offensive onslaught? Brady has a track record of elevating the performance of players surrounding him and the revitalization of Jones is next. With the full gamut of abilities, Jones can line up anywhere along the formation. He has the traits that all coaches covet: catch radius, body control and leaping ability. Often dubbed a "freak of nature," Jones is effortless in and out of breaks, exploding off the line of scrimmage.
He is a vertical threat due to rare speed and generates big plays after the catch on crossing routes and screens with physicality on runs, maximizing the Buccaneers chance at contention in 2022. The do-it-all phenom hauls in catches outside of his frame and navigates the sideline as good as any receiver in the NFL. The dynamic weapon will take Tampa Bay's aerial assault to another level. With his ability to beat press coverage and locate soft spots in zones, Jones rounds out Byron Leftwich's arsenal. Defenses will have to pick their poison as another nightmare mismatch takes the field.
View pictures from WR Julio Jone's NFL career thus far.