Julio Jones is making his NFL return. On Tuesday, the 34-year-old wideout agreed to join the Philadelphia Eagles‘ practice squad.
Jones didn’t attract any known interest as a free agent this offseason, and it was unclear if he had perhaps decided to call it a career. But Julio could theoretically suit up as soon as this week when the Eagles face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday Night Football.
Why did Philadelphia decide to add Jones at midseason, especially given his lackluster performance with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022? And why did Jones come off the couch to sign with the Eagles?
Where Julio Jones Sits on the Philadelphia Eagles WR Depth Chart
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has never been averse to adding veterans during the year, whether via trade or through free agency.
Last season, Philadelphia swung a trade for Chicago Bears pass rusher Robert Quinn in October, then tried to fix its leaky defense by signing tackles Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph three weeks later.
This year, the Eagles’ lacked depth at receiver after placing Quez Watkins on injured reserve before Week 6. Watkins, usually the club’s third WR behind A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, will have to miss at least four weeks.
Olamide Zaccheaus, who played alongside Jones in Atlanta, replaced Watkins on Sunday and played 57 offensive snaps. But Philadelphia needed more bodies. Britain Covey was the only other receiver on the Eagles’ roster before they signed Jones.
Julio is joining Philadelphia’s practice squad for now, but he’ll have every chance to be elevated to the club’s active roster. The Eagles could promote him three times before being required to sign him to a one-year contract.
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While Jones offers name value, it’s fair to wonder how much he has left in the tank. Injuries limited him to 20 total games with the Tennessee Titans and Buccaneers in 2021-22, and he didn’t top 500 receiving yards in either season.
Still, Jones represents a no-risk transaction for a Philadelphia front office that typically turns over every stone in search of available talent.
For Julio, signing with the Eagles affords him another chance at his first Super Bowl ring. He took a similar approach in 2022, joining Tom Brady — who infamously defeated Jones’ Falcons in Super Bowl 51 — and the Buccaneers in an attempt to hoist the Lombardi.
Philadelphia worked out free agent wideouts Marquez Callaway and Dezmon Patmon on Monday. The club ultimately found a far more high-profile solution in Jones, but it remains to be seen if the future Hall of Famer can turn back the clock.