Cory's Corner: Hard Pass On Julio Jones

An 11-year wideout with bad hamstrings isn't worth the trouble. 

It looks amazing. 

I mean, Julio Jones is 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds. The 33-year-old has a catching radius larger than most living rooms. 

Which is probably why the Packers are the favorite to land the free agent wideout according to Bookies.com

It sounds fine and dandy, but Jones isn’t worth it. Jones has been in the twilight of his career — the last year he was targeted over 100 times was in 2019. 

Look, I get why Green Bay is the favorite to land one of the most physically talented receivers I’ve ever seen. That position has a lot of question marks, especially as it searches for a dynamic weapon to move the football down the field. 

Sure, at a glance, the numbers don’t look that bad. He has averaged 1,212 yards and 5.5 touchdowns in 11 seasons as a pro. He is 17th in all-time career yards, ahead of Hall of Famers Andre Reed (13,198), Steve Largent (13,089) and Art Monk (12,721).

But he has had an assortment of injuries the last two years. He has only played in a combined 19 games and tallied just 82 total receptions. He only had 31 last year and that was after starting 10 games. 

We are three weeks away from training camp opening up and the fact that Julio Jones cannot latch onto a team is pretty telling. Jones is pretty much unguardable with that frame and his huge wingspan. However, opposing teams don’t have to worry that much if he never sees the field. 

Jones has had hamstring issues dating back to Sept. 2020. Hamstring issues are some of the nastiest injuries because they never really go away, it always seems like it lurks in the weeds waiting to cause more unsuspecting problems. 

And that is exactly the risk-reward that teams that the Packers, Colts and Cowboys need to weigh. Can Jones give a team 700 yards and five touchdowns? He sure can. The problem is, he can also play four games and total 200 yards. 

Green Bay’s receiving corps is at a place right now where these guys are going to need reps. Sammy Watkins needs to play, Allen Lazard needs to play and Amari Rodgers needs to play. Is it really worth stunting their growth on a guy that may not play more than 50 percent of the season?

I don’t think so. Jones would likely be better off in a place that already has a clear No. 1 wideout. Places like Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Minnesota and the Rams. The expectations would be low to begin with, which would be beneficial to both the team and Jones, because he wouldn’t have to try and give more than he physically could. 

I know everyone thinks that adding Jones would be a tremendous help, but it really wouldn’t. After Jones struggles this year, the younger wideouts would also be very frustrated at what their roles are supposed to be. 

It sounds great on paper, but sometimes it’s just better to make a hard pass. And I don’t want a 33-year-old wideout with iffy hamstrings. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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7 points

Comments (34)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
mrtundra's picture

July 05, 2022 at 07:03 am

No to Julio, is correct! 5 years ago, maybe we'd take a shot, but not now. It will be hard enough to get the ball to Watkins, often, to justify Gute's signing him. I think Watkins will light it up for us. Does that mean that Watson, Doubs, Amari, Cobb and Lazard will not see the ball come their way? Probably. Toure, too! Toure, IMO, will be a STs guy, if he makes the squad, more than an offensive player, as that could be the same for Doubs and Watson. at first. GO PACK, GO!!!

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NickPerry's picture

July 05, 2022 at 07:23 am

I have to agree with Cory here, at least until the Packers can really take a look at Watkins in this offense AND all the other new pieces in this offense this season. If the Packers are so hell-bent on adding pass catchers to this offense, work a trade for a TE who can actually make a difference.

The Packer's offense is going to look vastly different this year, at least IMO it will. It has to doesn't it? There's no more #17 to force-feed 170 passes to. The ball will actually be spread around. They'll also be using the running backs more this season than any other season in a long time. Two of your BEST offensive players are RBs so obviously they'll be heavily involved.

Watson and Doubs need to play. I'd MUCH rather see them out there getting experience than signing Jones OR Beckham while just waiting for that next injury to happen. The Packers will be just fine with who they have. No need to add someone who WILL end up on IR and will only slow/stunt the growth or Watson, Doubs, and even Rodgers.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 06, 2022 at 04:20 am

One concern is that there might be a lot more check downs and coverage sacks without Adams in the lineup. There probably will be more spreading of the passes, as well, but it remains to be seen if this will be a completely positive development.

Is Julio Jones an antidote for that? I don't know. I can't help but note that TN scored a trifle more per game without him than with Jones in their lineup (25.4 to 24.1 pts/game). He is an available option, along with a couple of other veteran wide receivers. I find dobber's comment interesting when he notes that this might be AR's last hurrah in GB. I am not as concerned about the development of young WRs as I might otherwise be.

GB has $17M or so in cap space. Deduct $3.5M for the PS (that's the minimum - it could be a little more), and $5M for in-season activity. Figure $1.5M for unfortunate injuries during training camp. That leaves $7M as spendable now.

Should GB spend it? Should they wait? If they spend it, where should it be spent? Another WR? On a TE? On a sixth DB who can clearly play in the NFL in game one? A third Edge player who can step in day one? Vet OT?

I can imagine looking back on the 2022 super bowl season and saying that the acquisition of Player X at any of those positions was the key move. I suspect that a sixth DB or a 3rd Edge would be a better bet to be that Player X than another WR.

Sure, I'd be interested in signing Julio Jones cheap, even if some of it was fully guaranteed, say $2.5M with $1.25M of it fully guaranteed, even with some additional incentives that are fairly stiff to attain. Finding a veteran WR with upside is a good idea, but that sounds a lot like the Watkins signing.

That said, I'd think I'd prefer for Gute to keep money in the piggy bank for a while. Maybe someone comes free at cut downs. GB might need some cap space at the trade deadline (week 8), at which time the team might know better where it needs help.

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NickPerry's picture

July 06, 2022 at 05:59 am

"That said, I'd think I'd prefer for Gute to keep money in the piggy bank for a while. Maybe someone comes free at cut downs."

THIS...It happens just about every year, a player gets cut and we hope he may choose GB. ONE of these times we'll be the ones who add "Player X" after getting cut AND have the money in the "Piggy Bank".

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NickPerry's picture

July 06, 2022 at 05:59 am

"That said, I'd think I'd prefer for Gute to keep money in the piggy bank for a while. Maybe someone comes free at cut downs."

THIS...It happens just about every year, a player gets cut and we hope he may choose GB. ONE of these times we'll be the ones who add "Player X" after getting cut AND have the money in the "Piggy Bank".

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stockholder's picture

July 05, 2022 at 07:30 am

Can he play TE? No; No he can't. You're Right. Just Pass.

6 points
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Packers0808's picture

July 05, 2022 at 07:49 am

Agree to no on Jones. We have the camp to see how the guys we have now develop and also who knows who will be cut before final rosters and could be some real usable WR cut that could be picked up at a lower cost for less cap affect!

5 points
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Since'61's picture

July 05, 2022 at 08:09 am

Julio Jones has been a great NFL receiver. But his time has passed. The Packers would do better to sign a TE. Thanks, Since ‘61.

5 points
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TheVOR's picture

July 05, 2022 at 08:13 am

I guess I pretty much agree. I'm not opposed to GB signing another veteran, just not sure about Jones. It's going to depend on how well Sammy Watkins can integrate. Health will play a huge factor for Sammy Watkins. In fact the health of the entire room will be critical for development.

My concerns, as they have always been really aren't around the cast of players in the room, as much as with the QB who seemingly struggles to develop young rookie talent. It's somewhat a given that we could have given Rodgers the best WR in the draft and the dude wouldn't see a ton of balls. It's the Rodgers MO.

This is as much about Rodgers legacy IMO, he needs to find a way to develop the two rookies and get them productive in a "Big Way", not a 30-35 catch way. Can Rodgers get it done is my question. He's terrifically excited about Sammy Watkins, which should tell us everything you'd need to know.

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dobber's picture

July 05, 2022 at 09:22 am

Playing behind Lazard and Watkins on the depth chart on a team that likes to play a lot of 2-TE sets, it's a lot to expect much more than about 40 catches out of a rookie unless there's a major shakeup or someone gets hurt.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 05, 2022 at 12:23 pm

I think Doubs has a good chance to be the 3rd most productive WR this year for the Packers. I think he and Watson might get about the same number of snaps but Doubs will have a better command of the full route tree and see more targets.

I think we'll see quite a bit of Watkins, Lazard and Doubs in 3 WR sets. Lazard played about a third of his snaps last year in the slot and Doubs has experience there as well so you can play those three without giving away who will be the slot receiver and adjust to the defensive formations.

This video has some good examples of Doubs route running ability, especially the cuts, and shows some of the things Doubs could be running for the Packers.

https://youtu.be/5HofC_cPkBw

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dobber's picture

July 05, 2022 at 04:11 pm

I'm with you: I like Doubs' chances of being the more productive rookie, too. Smart, more polished, volume WR, plenty of college reps, higher level of play than Watson...in those clips, you can see him making really nice route adjustments. I think he gets a faster start than the other rookies. Part of the equation is Tonyan, too. He gets a share of slot snaps (Lazard got quite a few after Tonyan got hurt), as will Cobb. I think Lazard and Watkins get first crack at the WR snaps and a healthy Tonyan eats up his share split wide and in the slot. But in the likely event that Watkins gets hurt, I won't be surprised if Doubs is the one who's the main beneficiary.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 05, 2022 at 07:54 pm

I like that he doesn't telegraph his routes going into cuts. Shows he's run a lot of routes in college and knows it gives him an advantage. A good start to becoming a pro.

Adams had 172 snaps in the slot too. I think Cobb will be mainly a 3rd down player that Rodgers trusts. If they can hit Watson deep a couple times early in the season it could really open a lot of things they can do with him once the CBs have to start playing off and safeties have to shade him a bit. It would do a lot for his confidence too. Then a Watkins/Watson/Lazard group gets interesting. Though Watkins and Watson are both X guys to me I don't think it would hurt him to play Z and not face press as much. All depends on how he handles the playbook I guess.

**Think I'll downvote myself to take the satisfaction away from whoever does that**

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murf7777's picture

July 05, 2022 at 09:02 am

I can see GB adding a vet WR at some point this season, possibly mid season trade, but I suspect Jones won’t be the one. I thought last year he would have a bounce back year and it didn’t happen. The Hammy is sapping his ability. Even when he did play he wasn’t a big factor for the Titans, thus he was let go. Take a pass.

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dobber's picture

July 05, 2022 at 09:15 am

"And I don’t want a 33-year-old wideout with iffy hamstrings. "

We all lose to father time. Almost all athletes who excel into their 30s will talk about how their regimen needs to change to meet the challenges of more fragile bodies, evolving metabolisms, and declining flexibility. Is that what he needs? I don't know, but it's unlikely he's forgotten how to catch a football and beat DBs. Even if he's lost a step, he's a step faster than most DBs. Still, do you need two WR who likely won't be back in 2023 and who you cross your fingers they're going to make it through this week's game?

"I mean, Julio Jones is 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds. "

No he isn't...unless he's added over 3 inches since his Combine measurements or has been bathing in "enhancement" medications.

7 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

July 06, 2022 at 07:47 am

I read 6'6" and immediately said the same to myself...no he isn't. He's 6'3"...still tall, but he would only be the 3rd tallest on the Packers.

Hard pass on a fading player who's football health is clearly breaking down. Whose snaps will he take? What young prospect will be cut to rent him for a year?

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

July 06, 2022 at 07:59 am

"I mean, Julio Jones is 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds. "

Cory is well known for not caring about concrete facts.

I can understand making mistakes about subjective matters. However, Cory is an expert at making mistakes with hard numbers.

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TheKanataThrilla's picture

July 05, 2022 at 09:14 am

Unless there are a rash of injuries at the WR position in training camp I am definitely in the "not interested" category. A TE is a whole other prospect entirely if we can find a vet on reasonable deal. Heck, I would even explore Lazard at the TE position to maximize the best number of players on the field on offense.

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dobber's picture

July 05, 2022 at 09:19 am

People need to re-examine what they really mean when they say "TE". If we mean "a big guy who lines up in the slot or split wide, matches up on S and LB, and runs a lot of routes" then Lazard already did/does that with Tonyan out of the lineup--those guys are WR. If you mean "a really big guy who regularly lines up on the OTs shoulder with his hand on the ground and can block an edge player in the run game AND run some routes" then that's Lewis, and won't be Lazard and likely not Tonyan.

3 points
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PeteK's picture

July 05, 2022 at 09:18 am

We already have a WR of that type, Lazard, and an injury prone Watkins. A one year 2 mill non guaranteed contract and let him compete in camp.

1 points
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dobber's picture

July 05, 2022 at 09:40 am

I think that Julio Jones (or someone similar) would make the top 3 WR for the Packers quite formidable....for as long as they could field all 3.

"Green Bay’s receiving corps is at a place right now where these guys are going to need reps....Is it really worth stunting their growth on a guy that may not play more than 50 percent of the season?....After Jones' struggles this year, the younger wideouts would also be very frustrated at what their roles are supposed to be."

If the Packers really feel like this is the "last hurrah" for #12 and many of the other vets in GB, then you make the kind of move to stockpile talent (although my suspicion is that a Jones won't take that kind of deal unless it's August 31 and he's still not in a camp) and swallow the impact of an extra WR at final cuts. They would need vets for whom the learning curve will be much smoother. In that kind of light, developing rookies isn't really a concern and something you worry about in the future.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 05, 2022 at 09:44 am

The Answer is always about another WR.

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PackAttack4155's picture

July 05, 2022 at 09:53 am

I can see the pros and cons of this. If he'd be willing to sign a similar deal as Watkins, bring him to camp. One of the best WRs in the modern era would be a solid player/coach to all of those rookies. Learn from the best. Lining Jones up wide in a three receiver set with two rookies on the field could, emphasis on could, help them in getting open as defenses will still have to play Jones like the great player he has been and could still be if he stays healthy and has a great QB throwing to him.

On the counter side, the rookies have a great group of defensive backs to learn them up. Jaire has been vocal about playing them hard and having them learn from it. The reality of it all is, unless he wants the ring bad enough, Jones won't sign a similar deal as Watkins. So the whole point is moot. Can't wait for camp to see what this offense is going to look like!

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PatrickGB's picture

July 05, 2022 at 10:01 am

I read the hype from lesser sites how he would be a great addition. There are even people spending money on betting on it. So I guess that it may be on some peoples minds. Big Julie was a hell of a receiver! His time may have passed due to injuries. I give the guy credit because I watched him play through them. In a dream scenario he signs a minimum contract, rehabs, recovers and plays lights out for us in the playoffs. But I am awake now and don’t see it in the real world.

2 points
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jhtobias's picture

July 05, 2022 at 10:52 am

I tend to agree with everyone who has posted on here . If the man want's to accept a Sammy Watkins type deal sure no harm no foul. Would much rather see them go after a third edge rusher or 3rd safety at this point instead if they choose to go after a veteran addition .

3 points
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stlpo's picture

July 05, 2022 at 11:44 am

6-foot-6?

Julio Jones is 6'3, and he's not known for his large catch radius.

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packerfan2554's picture

July 05, 2022 at 12:11 pm

Its to bad we didn't get Allen Robinson II when he went to the Rams. But a huge no to Julio or OBJ. We don't need those headaches. Would also rather have an extra Edge rusher and a 3rd S at this point. And maybe the Raiders 2nd team TE.

3 points
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gbxby's picture

July 05, 2022 at 11:31 pm

How would Julio be a headache? He may not be as good as he used to be, so it may not make sense to bring him in talent-wise but the dude has been highly professional his entire career. One of the very few dominant WRs the past 30 years who wasn’t a complete diva.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 05, 2022 at 12:35 pm

I think Fuller or Hilton would be better options if they are worried Watson won't be ready to make a contribution early in the season. They have the WRs to cover the short and intermediate stuff but Watson and Doubs might be their best deep WRs which is a little scary. Doubs is better at the deep post, deep out routes than as a straight go route receiver. Watson can handle the vertical stuff but if he struggles early in camp with handling the playbook or gets the dropsies I could see them bringing in Hilton or Fuller.

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gbxby's picture

July 05, 2022 at 11:23 pm

It would make no sense to bring in Hilton at this point in his career. He’s 32 and not nearly as fast as he used to be. Indy has had terrible WR depth the past few years and he still only averaged 500 yards/season the past three seasons. On top of that, he’s missed multiple games with injury. The team he’s spent his entire career with (which is pretty weak at WR again this season) didn’t bring him back which says a lot.

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 05, 2022 at 03:47 pm

GB already has two older WRs who have dealt with more than their share of injuries the past few years in Cobb and Watkins. Adding a third in J. Jones would be a big no for me. Maybe as a mid-late season addition if he's still available and if Cobb and/or Watkins is out once again might be a possibility. But that's a whole lot of "ifs".

*Edit* - Watkins is actually younger than I thought. He just turned 29. Thought he was older for some reason. The rest of the reasoning stands.

2 points
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gbxby's picture

July 05, 2022 at 11:08 pm

Julio is 6’3”… you can’t even do the bare minimum research?

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

July 06, 2022 at 01:35 pm

Cory is well known for his lack of attention to accuracy especially numerical data.

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Bure9620's picture

July 06, 2022 at 12:33 am

I would sign Julio Jones for the vet minimum or near it. Or an incentive laden deal. That would still be quite a bargain imo. I doubt Jones would agree to it, which is why he is still a FA now. We are overpaying a shell of Randall Cobb's former self currently with a $4 mil cap hit.........overpaying by a lot. Cobb is simply not that great a player now. Jones would be an upgrade.

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