The Dallas Cowboys can say they sent Tom Brady into retirement. While that’s not actually true, they were the last team to defeat Brady before he surprisingly announced his retirement in a video posted to social media early Wednesday.
Most folks were under the assumption Brady wouldn’t go out losing in the Wild Card Round for an objectively lousy team. The 49ers, Dolphins and Raiders were just some of the teams linked to Brady after the Buccaneers season ended.
There was even speculation he could return to New England.
Brady famously unretired one month after announcing it to the world last year, but he seemed pretty convinced he’s done for good this time.
This leaves the Buccaneers in a precarious position. They have an aging roster and are currently $55 million over the 2023 cap. Only the Saints are worse off from a financial standpoint, so Tampa Bay could look to shed salary in the form of releasing players, and even orchestrating trades involving veterans.
Let’s underline some players the Cowboys should look to poach.
3 Bucs the Cowboys could poach after Tom Brady retirement
3. Julio Jones, WR
Let’s preface this by saying that the Buccaneers aren’t going to just give away players willy nilly. Vita Vea, for example, would be a dream pickup for the Cowboys, but we have to think within the realm of possibility, not just based on need.
Jones is nowhere near the player he was during his prime, and injuries are definitely a concern (he hasn’t played more than 10 games since 2019). But, Dallas needs receiver help, and Jones is still capable of returning WR3/4 value even as he approaches his mid-30s.
The Cowboys certainly learned that in the Wild Card Round, when Jones erupted for seven catches for 74 yards and a touchdown in what was otherwise a dominant performance from Dallas’ defense. Let’s put it this way. Jones’ three games with more than 50 receiving yards this past season were two more than what Michael Gallup produced, and Jones played in four fewer games than Gallup.
Nobody’s saying Jones should be the only receiver Dallas should target this offseason. But perhaps he could fill the TY Hilton role as the grizzled vet who comes up with clutch grabs on third down and mentors the rest of the room.