The Tampa Bay Buccaneers still need a third wide receiver with the uncertainty of Chris Godwin‘s comeback timeframe after tearing his ACL in December 2021.
“I don’t have one in mind quite yet. Thankfully, this is my only time now going through this,” Godwin told the media in March. “I’m not really sure what those kind of timelines look like. I just try to take it a day at a time.”
The Bucs could pursue a wide receiver that quarterback Tom Brady already pitched once this offseason. Seven-time Pro Bowler Julio Jones remains available, and he could give the Bucs a third option at receiver. Pro Football Focus floated the idea of Jones joining Brady most recently in early April, and FOX’s Skip Bayless also discussed the idea on FS1’s “Undisputed” show in March.
Brady direct-messaged Jones in March about coming to Tampa according to Bayless.
“The message effectively said, ‘hey, come on down to the sunshine here in Tampa and let’s be great together,'” Bayless said on the “Undisputed” show in March.
Bayless said he received the information “from a source who knows Julio” after the Tennessee Titans released Jones on March 16. The two-time All Pro dealt with injuries and played just 10 games in 2021.
“It certainly was not a lack of effort on his part,” Titans general manager Jon Robinson said via Titans.com. “He tried his best to get out there, but he was battling it all year long. At the end of the day, and it’s on our wall in the training room, ‘Availability is just as important as ability.’ And, unfortunately for him — no fault of anybody — he just wasn’t available for us as much as he would have liked to have been, and certainly as we would have liked him to have been.”
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Bayless Believes Brady Could Bring Out the Best in Jones
Bayless said he believes Brady could “still get whatever greatness is still left in” in Jones.
“I think they could be great in stretches together,” Bayless said. “Not maybe Randy Moss in 2007. I believe there’s some Randy Moss left in Julio that Ryan Tannehill couldn’t quite find.”
Tannehill notably averaged seven yards per pass attempt and tallied 3,734 passing yards and 21 touchdowns. Brady averaged 7.4 yards per pass attempted and totaled league highs of 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns.
Jones Not Far Removed From Better Days
Jones’ final season in Atlanta, 2020, went much better than his one-year stint with the Titans. Jones caught 51 passes for 771 yards and three touchdowns. He produced bigger numbers as recently as 2019 with 99 receptions for 1,394 yards and six touchdowns. He also made his sixth-consecutive Pro Bowl that season.
Brady previously succeeded in recruiting talent to Tampa Bay such as tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Leonard Fournette, and former receiver Antonio Brown. While Brown’s time ended poorly, the four-time All Pro produced solid numbers in two seasons. Brown tallied 87 catches for 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 regular season games with the Bucs.
Jones wouldn’t need to do everything for the Bucs with Mike Evans and Russell Gage on the roster. The Bucs also have additional depth with Breshad Perriman, Cyril Grayson, Tyler Johnson, and Scotty Miller.
The Bucs only have $13.5 million in salary cap space, and some of that will go to draft picks and potentially other free agents. Jones made $15.3 million with the Titans in 2021 per Spot Trac.
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