In total, 31 receptions for 492 yards and three touchdowns.
Those numbers are respectable single-season outings for midrange receivers and would almost certainly be turned into another NFL contract.
But it’s not that. These are Julio Jones’ career numbers against the Dallas Cowboys in five Games.
Now the Cowboys have a chance to be on the other side of Jones’ production, as he was released by the Tennessee Titans in mid-March and remains a free agent.
According to Bookies.com, the Cowboys have the third-highest odds Jones’ team is playing for in Week 1, with bettors placing the line at +550 and giving the pairing slightly above 15% of chances of happening.
The Green Bay Packers are the favorites for Jones’ serves, followed by the Indianapolis Colts. His former team, the Atlanta Falcons, holds the seventh-highest rating.
So why Dallas?
It all starts with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who was Jones’ head coach in Atlanta before he was fired in 2020.
According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, Quinn “had a strong relationship with Jones”, and the Falcons’ decision to let Quinn go “only disconnected Jones further from the organization”.
After Atlanta’s 1-6 start to the 2019 season, as Quinn’s seat grew hotter by the day, Jones gave an impassioned speech in support of 51-year-old Quinn, saying, “This man has done everything for us.”
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While Quinn wouldn’t oversee Jones in Dallas, their special relationship might be enough to warrant the Cowboys giving her a shot and getting Jones to bring his talents to Team USA.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would sign the move, and his track record of aggressive moves for players with an upside but carrying multiple question marks implies he’d be willing to take a flyer on the seven-time Pro Bowler.
Jones, now 33, has struggled with injuries for the past few years and was limited to just 10 games for the Titans last season. His numbers were incredibly comparable to his five-game streak against Dallas, posting 31 receptions for 434 yards and a touchdown.
The Cowboys reception hall presents an opportunity for Jones to be a side piece, with third-year star CeeDee Lamb taking over as top spreader and newly extended Michael Gallup occupying the other outside starting spot.
However, the rest of the group is filled with proven role players and inexperienced young talent, including third-round pick Jalen Tolbert. Adding Jones and his resume to the room not only gives Dallas a very promising player if he stays healthy, but also a solid mentor for Lamb, Tolbert and the rest of the pass catchers.
At this point in his career, Jones is looking to play for suitors, and the Cowboys certainly aspire to match that bill. Given his relationship with Quinn, the opportunities available in the Dallas reception hall and Jerry Jones’ willingness to take risks, the Cowboys might just be the right landing spot as the former star of the Alabama is looking to end his career strong.
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