We all know how Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach loves his redemption stories and bargain-buys. Well, try and find a more perfect example of that than former two-time first-team All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones.
The ex-Falcons superstar nearly had 13,000 receiving yards with Atlanta before posting a dud season with the Tennessee Titans in 2021. Having said that, he followed those first-team nods with three second-team All-Pro honors from 2017 through 2019 and a Pro Bowl invite in seven out of eight campaigns from 2012 through the same year.
In other words, Jones is two seasons removed from NFL greatness and one analyst believes he’s worth taking a shot on this late in free agency.
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Jones Offers ‘Low-Risk, High-Reward’
The nudge came from Bleacher Report’s Jake Rill, who voiced that the Chiefs “must consider” a Jones addition at the very least. Here was his rationale:
[JuJu] Smith-Schuster and [Marquez] Valdes-Scantling are high-potential wide receivers who could potentially put up career-best numbers while catching passes from quarterback Patrick Mahomes during their first season in Kansas City… But there’s quite a bit more uncertainty surrounding Kansas City’s receiving corps than when [Tyreek] Hill was atop the depth chart. Tight end Travis Kelce will continue to be one of Mahomes’ favorite (and best) targets, but the Chiefs may not have any top-tier playmakers on the outside, especially if Smith-Schuster doesn’t have a bounce-back year. So why not take a chance on Julio Jones, who was once among the NFL’s top wide receivers?
It’s not exactly a surprising take from Rill, but is it an accurate one? Many around the league view the KC wide receiver corps as deep but lackluster. There’s no clearcut star, outside of Kelce, and Jones would provide that.
“He may still have some left in the tank,” Rill concluded, “which he’ll be looking to prove in 2022. There seems like no better way to potentially get Jones back on track than to pair him with an elite quarterback like Mahomes. And at this point, Kansas City could potentially sign Jones at a low price. It’s a low-risk, high-reward chance the Chiefs should be willing to take.”
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Does Jones Make Sense in Kansas City?
The question is, does a fading star help more than a budding role player like Justin Watson or potentially, a high-ceiling rookie like Justyn Ross? Because if you do sign Jones, there’s probably only room for Smith-Schuster, Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, Mecole Hardman and one final receiver.
That would also likely mean the end of a bounceback effort from either veteran Josh Gordon or 2021 draft pick Cornell Powell.
In other words, a one-year deal for Jones could have ramifications — so long as you don’t win a Super Bowl. It probably means you lose a talent like Watson, Ross or Powell on waivers, who could theoretically provide an impact for years to come.
Why not “take a chance on” Jones? Because it could mean sacrificing the future for a quick fix that may not even work. The 33-year-old wideout averaged 43.4 yards per game and only suited up 11 times with the Titans. He had six catches for 62 yards during Tennessee’s lone playoff outing.
Veach does love his reclamation projects but this one feels like overkill. The Chiefs WR room is a lot stronger than most analysts realize and it feels like head coach Andy Reid and his GM are pretty happy with the position at the moment.