As the Detroit Lions reshape their wide receiver corps this offseason, they are among the teams interested in Steelers’ receiver/return man Ray-Ray McCloud.
As the market of available options seems to thin daily, the Detroit Lions will be looking to add pieces to their wide receiver room this offseason. After re-signing Josh Reynolds last week, Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports has reported the Lions are among the teams interested in free agent wide receiver/return man Ray-Ray McCloud.
According to Benjamin, joining the Lions as teams named with interest in McCloud are the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts.
After one season each with the Buffalo Bills and Carolina Panthers. McCloud has spent the last two seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Benjamin suggests he’ll find a solid market in free agency.
"A year after leading the NFL in return yardage, Steelers wide receiver and special teamer Ray-Ray McCloud is expected to have a solid market in 2022 free agency. Pittsburgh has contacted McCloud’s representation to express a strong interest in re-signing the veteran, according to a source close to the situation, but at least six other teams — including playoff contenders in the 49ers and Packers — have their sights set on McCloud ahead of the league’s legal tampering period, which begins March 14.The Colts, 49ers, Lions and Packers all expressed interest in the 25-year-old McCloud during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, according to sources, and are among teams expected to make an offer to the wideout once the negotiating window officially opens."
McCloud led the league in punt return yards last season (367), and with his 776 kickoff return yards added he (as Benjamin cited) led the league in total return yardage with 1,143. He also topped 1,000 combined return yards for Pittsburgh in 2020.
How would Ray-Ray McCloud fit with the Lions?
The Lions’ interest in McCloud may simply be a contingency plan if they lose Kalif Raymond in free agency. Raymond averaged 11.2 yards per punt return in 2021, which would’ve been a top-five mark in the league had he qualified for the leaderboard, while adding 48 catches for 576 yards and four touchdowns.
McCloud added a career-high 39 catches to his return game prowess last season, so he could be a bit of an offensive weapon to go with holding down both return man jobs. The Lions’ interest is well-founded, even if it’s only some level of a contingency for if they do (or an acknowledgement they will) lose Raymond.