Tampa Bay Buccaneers Make Smart Move, Sign Julio Jones As Insurance Policy

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also upgrading Tom Brady’s offensive arsenal.

As the Buccaneers continue their pursuit of another Super Bowl, Tampa Bay’s latest additions see them add former teammate Julio Jones. As he said ESPN’s Adam SchefterThe Buccaneers are signing the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver to a one-year contract.

While Jones may not be the wide receiver he was when he torched the Buccaneers when he was a member of the Atlanta Falcons, he will be the fourth best wide receiver in the league. The 33-year-old will have a secondary role behind starters Chris Godwin and Mike Evans along with slot receiver Russell Gage.

The Buccaneers didn’t make the signing in hopes that Jones would find the fountain of youth and put up 136, 1,871-yard performances in one season like he did earlier in his career. He signed this as insurance.

Chris Godwin is recovering from an ACL tear that sidelined him at the end of last season. While he may not start the season on the PUP list, it would be wise for Tampa Bay not to bother with their offensive weapon to start the season.

Due to Godwin’s ACL tear in Week 15, he missed Tampa Bay’s postseason run. This was a big problem, because the Buccaneers ended up releasing Antonio Brown before the playoffs started due to his altercation with then-head coach Bruce Arians in Week 16.

With the Buccaneers missing their top two tackles, they were forced to rely heavily on Evans. The Buccaneers had just 19 passes to receivers not named Evans in their two playoff games, resulting in just 96 yards and zero touchdowns, as The Athletic’s Greg Auman reports.

For example, Brady had 91 pass attempts and 600 passing yards in the Bucs’ two postseason games.

Yes, it’s true that it doesn’t hurt to keep offensive weapons — especially when you’ve lost Rob Gronkowski and Brown in just the last seven months. And while the 6-foot-3 Jones will do his part in trying to help the Buccaneers fill a dangerous red zone void due to Gronkowski’s retirement, the signing has postseason considerations.

The Buccaneers want to avoid entering another postseason — possibly Brady’s last before calling it quits — relying on one star receiver like they did last year. One could argue the absence of Godwin and Brown led to Tampa Bay’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs. After all, the Buccaneers had one chance to dethrone the defending Super Bowl champions.

The addition of Jones also means the Buccaneers won’t have to rely too much on one of their smaller receivers during the postseason. Scotty Miller – who missed most of last season due to injury – has become a prominent part of the team’s injury-riddled postseason offense.

In the playoff loss to the Rams, Miller had six goals. For the record, Miller only had five receptions throughout the 2021 season.

Jones’ arrival means the Buccaneers could cut ties with one or two of the younger receivers between Miller, 2020 fifth-round pick Tyler Johnson and 2021 fourth-round pick Jaelon Darden.

While the signing of Jones and the removal of the small receivers may not be a good thing in the future, it is a step toward Tampa Bay’s goal of winning the Super Bowl in what Brady was able to accomplish last season.

Injuries were the downfall of the Buccaneers last season. As Tampa Bay prepares for another deep run into the 2022 season, they are making sure Brady’s arsenal is as deep as possible.

If the Buccaneers fall short of a major goal this season, it won’t be because of injuries. The signing of Jones ensures that Brady won’t be short on weapons when the Bucs go up against NFC powerhouses in January.