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#pounditFriday, December 2, 2022

Could 1 Buccaneers signing turn into steal of offseason?

Aug 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) jogs off the field after a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers already had one of the best wide receiver corps in the NFL, but that did not stop them from signing a former Pro Bowler at the position this offseason. That somewhat under-the-radar addition could pay massive dividends for them.

Julio Jones signed a one-year deal with the Bucs just before the start of training camp two weeks ago. Some have wondered if the seven-time Pro Bowler will have a difficult time making the 53-man roster, especially when you look at the structure of his contract. If what ESPN’s Jeff Darlington was told is accurate, Jones should not only make the roster but may also have a huge impact.

“A very important Bucs source told me that Julio Jones looks like the 2019 version of Julio Jones out here,” Darlington said. “If he can stay healthy, and that’s a big if … enjoy that one.”

The 2019 version of Julio Jones had 99 catches for 1,394 yards and six touchdowns. He actually exceeded that yardage total in the five seasons before that.

That seems like a long time ago. Jones is now 33 and has appeared in a total of just 19 games over the past two seasons. He had a career-low 31 catches last year with the Tennessee Titans. Of course, Tom Brady was not his quarterback then.

If Jones is healthy, he should have plenty of opportunities to make big plays. Defenses will have to focus on taking away Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, which should leave Jones open in certain situations. Tom Brady has to love the prospect of having Jones as the third option in the passing game.

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