Are the Detroit Lions preparing to move on from Marvin Jones?

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 23: Marvin Jones
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 23: Marvin Jones /

The Detroit Lions might be making plans for a future that doesn’t include wide receiver Marvin Jones. Does that make the position an even bigger need?

Last season, the Detroit Lions traded away longtime number one receiver Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a third-round selection (88th overall) in the upcoming NFL draft.

If Tate’s exodus cut the legs from underneath the Lions’ passing offense last year, then the season-ending knee injury that landed wideout Marvin Jones Jr. on the Injured Reserve list in late November all but crushed it.

Still, second-year phenom Kenny Golladay was able to take a major step up in his development and appears to be on the brink of stardom. As for Jones, the soon-to-be 29-year old is under contract through 2020 in Detroit.

Jones is set to create a salary cap hit of $9.18 million for each of the next two seasons. That amount might have the Lions considering opting out of his current deal. But the simple fact is Detroit currently doesn’t have a better option at this time.

The current depth chart includes Brandon Powell, Chris Lacy, and Andy Jones. You may as well throw in running back Theo Riddick‘s name in there as well. And both wideouts Bruce Ellington and T.J. Jones are scheduled to become free agents next month.

So unless the Lions plan on bringing in a veteran or two via free agency and/or drafting for the position fairly high, it’s clear Detroit doesn’t have a Jones-level replacement in-house. But that doesn’t mean the franchise isn’t scheming to move on from the seven-year veteran eventually.

Here’s what Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press recently wrote about Patricia’s puzzling response when asked about the veteran wide receiver.

"“Patricia was a little more cryptic when asked about Marvin Jones and whether he expects ‘the same old Marvin Jones as always’ once he’s back healthy … ‘Everyone’s in a situation where they got to go out there and reestablish (themselves).’ … The Lions can’t move on from Jones unless they have a replacement, but his future is still a situation worth monitoring.”"

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In 2017, Marvin Jones posted the first 1,000-yard receiving season of his career in Detroit. Last year, Jones recorded just 35 receptions for 508 yards and five touchdowns in nine games. His 14.5 yards per catch average was his lowest since coming to Detroit. That drop in production, combined with his current salary, could be reason enough for the Lions to consider parting ways with Jones before his contract is up.