The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added another former All-Pro receiver to their talented receiving corps, signing Julio Jones to a one-year deal, the team announced Wednesday. Jones will get the opportunity to catch passes from Tom Brady, joining a wide receiver unit that already features Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Russell Gage.
Jones’ contract has a base salary of $6 million and is worth up to $8 million, per NFL Network.
Tampa Bay is getting arguably the most accomplished receiver of the last decade in Jones, who has made seven Pro Bowls and earned two First Team All-Pro selections in his 12-year career. Jones has 13,330 career receiving yards (the most in NFL since 2011, his rookie year), and has lead the league in receiving yards twice (2015 and 2018). He leads the NFL in yards after the catch (4,329) and is second in receptions (879) since 2011.
Only Jerry Rice (15,123), Marvin Harrison (13,697), and Torry Holt (13,382) have more receiving yards than Jones after their first 11 seasons. Jones had 1,300 receiving yards in six straight seasons (2014-2019), tied with Holt for the longest streak in NFL history (only Rice has more 1,300-yard seasons in a career with seven). His 59 games with 100 yards receiving are third-most in the Super Bowl era, trailing only Rice (76) and Randy Moss (64).
A free agent for the first time in his career, Jones caught a career-low 31 passes for 434 yards and a touchdown (14.0 yards per catch) last season. It was one hampered by injuries, which has been part of the reason Jones hasn’t been productive in each of the last two years (82 catches, 1,205 yards, four touchdowns in 19 games). Jones missed seven games in each of the last two seasons with hamstring and COVID issues, slowing down one of the greatest starts for a wide receiver in NFL history.
With Jones in Tampa Bay, he won’t be asked to carry the passing game. Evans is one of Brady’s top targets as the No. 1 wideout while Godwin has an excellent chance to be ready for Week 1 (ACL surgery). Gage was brought in this offseason as another weapon to the passing game, an insurance policy in case Godwin would have to miss time at the start of the year.
Jones and Mike Evans are two of three active players with seven 1,000-yard seasons, and both will be on the same roster catching passes from Brady. Gage and Jones will also be reunited in Tampa Bay, as he caught a career-high 72 passes for 786 yards and four touchdowns in 2020 — his final season with Jones.
With Jones aboard, the Buccaneers are four deep at wide receiver as they gear up for another Super Bowl run.