BOSTON (CBS) — Another day, another Julio Jones report involving the Patriots.
Actually, there are two.
First, Mike Lombardi said on his podcast that he believes the rumors of the Patriots’ interest in Jones to be true.
“I see them being in this. I really do,” Lombardi said, per Zack Cox of NESN. “I don’t doubt the rumor of their interest in Julio Jones. That’s how I would encapsulate that. There’s no doubt. I think that’s truly the case.”
That comment, while somewhat noteworthy, doesn’t really advance any story forward. A report from NBC Sports Boston’s Michael Holley, though? Whoa, baby. It’s a doozy.
Holley said on “Boston Sports Tonight” that he’s been getting some intel from “some little birdies.” Holley has learned that Jones is very unhappy with the Falcons right now, and that the All-Pro receiver has a certain quarterback in mind that he wants to play with.
Here’s how Holley delivered the news:
This is gonna surprise you, and it’s gonna disappoint you. It’s bittersweet. Because I love Julio Jones, always have. You’re not gonna believe this.
Do you know who he really wants to play with? You won’t believe this. I’m telling you, I heard this today and I said, ‘Are you kidding me?!’
He wants to play with Cam Newton.
He likes Cam.
That’s quite the story.
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) May 21, 2021
Obviously, Jones knows Newton well from their lengthy time together as NFC South opponents. They both entered the league in 2011 — Cam with the Panthers, Jones with the Falcons — and played each other twice per season for almost a decade. Newton — a native of Atlanta — won just six of his 15 games against the Falcons, throwing 21 touchdowns and 16 interceptions and running for seven more scores, but he clearly left a mark on Jones.
Whether or not Jones kept tabs on Newton for his first year in New England isn’t fully known, but Newton obviously struggled, finishing the year with eight touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. Nevertheless, the report indicated that Jones would prefer Newton over Matt Ryan.
“The reason he’s on the trade market, his relationship with the Falcons is terrible. It’s bad right now,” Holley said. “He thinks that Matt Ryan — because that was the other thing — he thinks Matt Ryan has lost a little zing on the deep ball.”
Of course, there’s much that’s yet to be determined at quarterback for the Patriots. Bill Belichick stated plainly after drafting Mac Jones in the first round that Newton is still the team’s quarterback, but as is the case with any job in New England, that starting reps will go to the player who earns them.
And apparently, even though a high number of Patriots fans might wish otherwise, Julio Jones is hoping that ends up being Cam Newton.