Rumors have connected the Indianapolis Colts to several different free agent wide receivers this offseason. One of the most talked about potential free agent wideout targets for the Colts has been two-time All-Pro Julio Jones.
But apparently Indianapolis doesn’t view Jones as a potential target.
Senior writer Stephen Holder of The Athletic reported on May 19 that the Colts have made an “internal decision that Julio Jones is not a fit.”
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Julio Jones Connected to Colts Because of Matt Ryan
Other than the fact Jones is a big-named receiver and the Colts could still use a veteran wideout on the roster, Jones has seemingly been connected to Indianapolis this offseason because of Matt Ryan.
Jones and Ryan played 10 years together with the Atlanta Falcons. Ryan will play his first season away from the Falcons this fall. With a need a receiver and Jones available, the connection makes sense.
Lots of writers have pounced on it too.
On May 12, Barnwell predicted the Colts to sign Jones, who was an All Pro in 2015 and 2016.
“A deal with the Colts would give Jones a chance to spend time both on the outside and in the slot, given that Parris Campbell has struggled to stay healthy and second-round pick Alec Pierce may need some time to adjust to the league,” staff writer Bill Barnwell of ESPN wrote on May 12. “It would also get Jones back inside a dome for his home games and reunite the seven-time Pro Bowler with his longtime quarterback, Matt Ryan.”
Barnwell projected the Colts to be able to sign Jones for $5-6 million.
On May 1, football writer Jordan Dajani of CBS Sports also identified Jones as a fit for the Colts.
“Jones caught just 31 passes for 434 yards and one touchdown in his lone season with the Tennessee Titans, and is now looking for a new team,” Dajani wrote. “With his former quarterback Matt Ryan now in Indy, this potential signing just makes sense.”
Everyone clamoring for the Colts to sign a veteran wide receiver is going to view Jones as a fit. He’s the most successful NFL wideout still left in free agency, and it’s not close. Additionally, Jones and Ryan have obviously been a lethal combination in their careers.
But there are also reasons not to sign Jones.
Potentially Why Jones Won’t Fit With Colts
Indianapolis doesn’t have a receiver older than 25 on the roster. Of that group, only Michael Pittman Jr. has recorded more than 400 receiving yards in a single season.
Still, the Colts expect Pittman and second-round pick Alec Pierce to be their starting wide receivers. Parris Campbell should compete with Pierce for one of the starting roles too.
If the Colts sign a veteran receiver, a better fit probably would be a shiftier wideout with experience playing in the slot. Jones has been his team’s top target throughout his career, and the Colts might not want a guy to come in and take away opportunities from receivers the team wants to develop.
There’s also the injury concerns with Jones. He has missed 14 games the last two years and hasn’t been the same player even when on the field because of leg ailments. Jones posted a career-low 31 catches for 434 yards and a touchdown in 2021.
Behind Pittman, Pierce and Campbell, Holder reports the Colts are optimistic about fellow receivers Dezmon Patmon, Ashton Dulin and Mike Strachan. Indianapolis is likely to wait until training camp to see how all the team’s young receivers progress before shopping for a veteran wideout.
But even if the Colts go shopping, Holder would say Jones isn’t on the wish list.