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Free Agency Still Open: Should Cowboys Add Julio Jones?

Are the Cowboys satisfied with the current receivers room or should they seek to find some experience for next year's team?

FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys have been linked to several NFL free agent wide receivers this offseason. Especially since the March 16 trade that sent Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a fifth-round pick and a swap of sixth-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Many so-called "experts" think that left a hole at the No. 1 receiver position, a role the Cowboys are clearly hoping can be filled by former first-round pick CeeDee Lamb

There were a slew of free-agent wideouts to pick from for the Cowboys if they chose to go in that direction to replace Cooper. And one name that was linked to The Star in Frisco is former Atlanta and Tennessee standout Julio Jones. 

Jones is a former force at receiver in the league, and some say one of the best to ever play the game. 

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So is he a fit in Dallas? Are the Cowboys even looking to fill Cooper's empty locker with another big-name receiver?

There's no question that Jones was a dominating force. in 10 seasons in Atlanta with the Falcons, Jones caught 848 passes for 12,896 yards and scored 60 touchdowns. He made seven Pro Bowls, was first-team All-Pro twice, and second-team All-Pro three times. He led the league in receiving yards twice and made the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team.

In Jones' last season in Atlanta, 2020, he played only nine games due to injury and ended the season with 51 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns. Not very Jones-like stats.

On June 6, the Falcons traded Jones along with a sixth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Titans for their second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and their 2023 fourth-round pick.  Jones, 33, missed seven games in 2021 for the Titans with further injury issues. He managed just 434 yards and one touchdown on 31 receptions.

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Age is one of the worst enemies of a wide receiver in the NFL, and it seems to be catching up with Jones. But maybe one of the biggest knocks against the theories that Jones would play in Dallas is because almost exactly one year ago he said he didn't want to.

On May 24, 2021, Shannon Sharpe called Jones while live on Skip and Shannon: Undisputed and asked him if he wanted to remain with the Falcons for the upcoming season. In response to Sharpe's question, Jones said "I'm out of there." Jones also told Sharpe that he had no desire to be a Cowboy and that he wanted to play for a winning organization.

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Admittedly, Jones had a lot more bargaining leverage, and his career has taken a steep nose-dive since. But why would he change his mind about wanting to play for a winning organization, and why would he consider Dallas to be one now if he didn't then?

There also seems to be no indication from within the Cowboys organization that they want him or anyone else. Before the NFL Draft, COO Stephen Jones essentially came out and declined any interest in any available free agent wideouts, touting the existing receivers room - plus a likely high NFL Draft selection - as being good enough.

"I know Amari was a great player for us,'' Jones said of the traded-away Cooper, "but this might allow CeeDee (Lamb) and Michael (Gallup) to step up and play an even bigger role. And who knows what their upside may be?”

Indeed, Dallas did take a receiver in the draft with their third-round selection from South Alabama, Jalen Tolbert. And don't forget the earlier offseason signing of former Pittsburgh Steelers and Oklahoma State Cowboys receiver James Washington.

While Jones might have one or two NFL seasons left on his body, most likely it won't be with the Cowboys, and it shouldn't be. Their best days are ahead of them, while Jones' most likely are behind him.