How will former Lions fare with new teams in 2021?
Position: Wide Receiver
Signed with: Jacksonville Jaguars
2020 stats with Lions: 16 games played, 76 receptions, 978 yards, 9 touchdowns
Former Lions general manager Bob Quinn made many poor decisions in his five seasons running the show, but signing Jones in 2016 wasn’t one of them. However, like Golladay, both sides decided it was time for a fresh start.
Jones never worked his way into the discussion as one of the top receivers in the game while with the Lions, but he was a reliable player for them. He averaged nearly 60 receptions and over 850 yards a year for Detroit while also reaching number three on the team’s all-time touchdown reception list during his tenure in Michigan.
His signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars was a bit of a surprise, as it was widely assumed that he would prefer to latch on with a Super Bowl contender or a squad closer to his native California. That didn’t happen, and now Jones will be relied upon to make an impact for a team that lost their final 15 games in 2020.
It’s easy to see him becoming a popular target for 2021 first overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence, one of the most celebrated quarterbacks to enter the league over the last decade. Jones is certainly the most experienced member of a receiving corps that includes talented but inconsistent D.J. Chark and versatile chess-piece Laviska Shenault.
Additionally, the Jaguars have one of the least inspiring tight end groups in the NFL (sorry Tim Tebow fans), meaning that they will count on Jones even more to propel their aerial attack. He has reached 1,000 receiving yards in a season only once, likewise for double-digit touchdown grabs. However, he could approach those marks again in 2021 should he be able to form an early rapport with Lawrence.