The Dallas Cowboys are considered a favorite to land one of the most accomplished receivers in the league.
Julio Jones, a free agent and seven-time Pro Bowler, is favored by Sportsline oddsmakers to sign with one of several teams, including the Cowboys, according to a May 16 story by Sportsline’s Matt Severance.
At +800 odds, Dallas has the sixth best odds of any team to Jones, who is 33 and two years removed from his last 1,000-yard season. The Indianapolis Colts top the Sportsline list at +300 odds, followed by the Green Bay Packers (+400), Tampa Buccaneers (+500), Buffalo Bills (+700) and New England Patriots (+700).
Severance wrote that Jones’ previous history with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who coached Jones and the Atlanta Falcons from 2015 until 2020, and Michael Gallup’s recovery from a torn ACL could factor into Dallas’ signing Jones.
“Dallas traded away Amari Cooper this offseason and Michael Gallup is recovering from a torn ACL,” Severance wrote. “Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was Atlanta’s head coach during Jones’ most productive NFL seasons, which included five consecutive years of at least 1,300 receiving yards.”
Jones Suffered Through Injury-Plagued 2021 Season
After spending the first 10 years of his career with the Falcons, Jones was traded to the Tennessee Titans for the 2021 season. He missed nearly half of the season because of a hamstring injury and endured the worst statistical season of his career, posting just 31 receptions for 434 yards and one touchdown — all career lows.
While Jones’ baseline numbers were pedestrian, his advanced numbers paint a different picture. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones posted a 74.2 offensive grade last season. While his overall grade represented a steep decline from the 86.3 he posted during the 2020 season, he still ranked 34th among all wide receivers with at least 40 targets.
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Why Jones Could Fit With Cowboys
The Cowboys are currently lacking in depth at wide receiver after CeeDee Lamb and Gallup, who is expected to miss the first several games of the season.
“Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said receiver Michael Gallup could miss two or three games at the beginning of the season,” said Jones in a story by Clarence Hill of The Fort Worth-Star Telegram published March 29.
The top receivers after Gallup on the depth chart are James Washington and rookie Jalen Tolbert. While Washington has a decent amount of experience — 25 starts in 60 appearances across four seasons — one can argue he’s been a bust as a former second-round pick.
The former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver posted just 24 receptions for 285 yards and two touchdowns last season. The 26-year-old receiver posted a dreadful 51.1 receiving grade last season, the worst grade among any receiver with at least 40 targets.
Meanwhile, Tolbert has the height — 6-foot-3 — to emerge as a possible red zone threat for the Cowboys, but his slight frame (190 pounds) and the fact that he played at a small school in the Sun Belt Conference (South Alabama) makes it unlikely he’ll emerge as a dominant threat during his rookie campaign.
Considering the Cowboys’ questions at receiver after Lamb, the signing of Jones wouldn’t be a bad one. At the very least, Dallas could use the large receiver — Jones is listed at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds — as a red zone threat for quarterback Dak Prescott.