What an outstanding campaign for Kenny Golladay. In his third season, the former third-round pick (ahem, third-round steal) has firmly entrenched himself as one of the NFL’s finest pass catchers. The numbers from this year bear that out.
Golladay notched a career-high 1,190 yards through the air, led the league with 11 touchdown grabs and ranked third in the NFL with an 18.3 yards-per-catch average, all while catching balls from three different quarterbacks. Heading towards year four, Golladay is in line for a lucrative contract extension. This should be the highest priority for the Lions this offseason.
Marvin Jones had a fine year with nine touchdown receptions and made some impressive contested catches. He had a dominant performance in a Week 7 loss against the Minnesota Vikings with four scoring grabs. He and Stafford have an excellent rapport, and he is a great fit for the Lions’ downfield attack.
Unfortunately, Jones finished the year on injured reserve for the second straight season. Though he is entering a contract year and is no sure thing to return in 2020, the Lions are simply not in a position to open more holes on their roster, particularly with one of their most talented offensive players.
However, Jones’ health moving forward is a significant concern. He is also approaching age 30 and would represent only $2.6 million in dead cap space should the Lions decide to move on. In an upcoming draft class loaded with talented wideouts, does Detroit gamble on replacing Jones? It’s doubtful, but worth monitoring.
In the slot, veteran Danny Amendola likely gave the Lions just about everything they could have asked for when they inked the former New England Patriot to a one-year deal. At age 34, he fell just 12 receiving yards short of eclipsing a career-high and was a valued leader in the Lions’ locker room. Though he didn’t score a touchdown after the Lions’ first game, he is a definite candidate to return to Detroit on another short term deal.
Behind the top three, there wasn’t much to write home about. Speedster Marvin Hall was a nice mid-season find off of the practice squad for the Lions, averaging 37.3 yards on his seven receptions before being lost to injury after just nine games. Second-year player Chris Lacy shuttled between the Lions’ practice squad and active roster and caught just three balls. Rookie Travis Fulgham did not have a catch in two games.
This was probably the Lions’ strongest position group in 2019, but it seems likely that changes could take place before next season. Hopefully, they will be able to add more talent here, rather than subtract from a position of strength.