Lions to sign Kalif Raymond; The new Jamal Agnew?

Kalif Raymond #14 of the Tennessee Titans (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Kalif Raymond #14 of the Tennessee Titans (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions lost All-Pro special teams returner, Jamal Agnew, last week to the Jacksonville Jaguars via free agency. And now it appears the Lions are set to sign his potential replacement.

On Tuesday it was reported that Detroit has agreed to sign wide receiver Kalif Raymond to a one-year deal. Undrafted out of Holy Cross in 2016, Raymond bounced around the NFL (mainly on practice squads) until finding a home with the Tennesee Titans over the past three seasons.

In 2020, the 5-foot-8, 182-pound Raymond played in a career-high 15 games for the Titans, starting in three of them. As a receiver, he posted nine receptions for 187 yards resulting in seven first downs and an impressive 20.8 yards per catch average.

But where Raymond’s presence in Detroit figures to have the biggest impact is as a special teams returner. Last season, the 26-year old had 15 kick returns for 275 yards, which was an 18.3 per kick return average. Raymond also had 23 punt returns for 208 yards, an average of 9.0 yards per return.

In comparison, Agnew racked up 28 kick returns for 783 yards in 2020, which was a much larger average of 28.0 yards per kick return. He also had 14 punt returns for 178 yards for an average of 12.7 yards per punt return. Agnew also returned a punt for a touchdown, something Raymond hasn’t done in his entire NFL career as a special teams returner.

The addition of Raymond could also give the Lions a potential replacement for wideout Danny Amendola in the slot. Based on the current depth chart in Detroit, he figures to compete with Tom Kennedy for that role.

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The Detroit Lions’ current depth chart at wide receiver includes Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Tom Kennedy, Quintez Cephus, Victor Bolden, Geronimo Allison, and now, Kalif Raymond. Detroit could continue to look to free agency to add more talent to the position, but they are also expected to address it in the upcoming NFL draft.