Only two seasons ago the Atlanta Falcons' number one option was still Julio Jones. Jones was coming off of a down season by his standards but clearly when healthy was still one of the premier options in the league.
Fast forward two seasons and Jones has been a part of two different teams taking a huge step back in each season with injuries continuing to take a toll. This is the path that many athletes follow few get to walk away at the peak of their powers still impacting the game at the same level.
Still, it is sad to see the Atlanta legend struggle as the veteran has the past two seasons. While Jones did have garbage time highlights in the Bucs' lone playoff game it was against a secondary that clearly knew the game was won.
Julio is now a free agent and searching for his next landing spot or perhaps even considering retirement knowing how the past two seasons have gone.
In the 2021 season with the Titans Jones had 434 receiving yards and clearly wasn't close to the player he was during his time in Atlanta. However, there was some thought the following season that teaming with Tom Brady and chasing a ring could bring Jones production back a bit instead the veteran managed only 299 receiving yards and struggled to stay healthy.
Despite all of this if Jones opts to return there will likely be a number of teams willing to take a chance on cheap veteran production and that should include the Atlanta Falcons. Jones left the team a season before Matt Ryan attempted to find a chance to impact winning. That has not gone well for the veteran and now the Falcons are clearly ready to make a playoff push with little depth at the receiver position.
Bringing Jones back even though the veteran isn't close to what he once was is the right move for a team that needs the veteran leadership and Jones who will have a chance to help the next generation for a team that he help define for much of the last decade.