The Lions were ultimately not very serious about keeping Josh Reynolds

Josh Reynolds' departure from the Detroit Lions was inevitable, and it appears there was not a serious effort to bring him back.

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Going back to before free agency, it would have been surprising if the Detroit Lions had re-signed Josh Reynolds. His market was very slow to develop though, and it barely developed with just one know free agent visit.

On Tuesday at the NFL league meetings, Lions' general manager Brad Holmes pointed to Reynolds as part of the "Plan A" in free agency. Earlier in the day, head coach Dan Campbell said the team was still in touch with Reynolds as the door seemed open to bringing him back.

Coincidentally or not, the day after those comments from the two most front-facing people in the Lions' organization, Reynolds agreed to a two-year deal with the Denver Broncos worth "up to" $14 million.

"Up to" is a term that serves as PR for an agent who feeds a reporter the scoop on a free agent signing. When the firm details of Reynolds' contract with the Broncos come out, we'll see how feasibly he can get "up to" $14 million over the two years. But it's fair to say if the Lions made him an offer, it was not going to max out at $7 million per year.

It's no surprise to find out Lions were not very serious about keeping Josh Reynolds

The move to re-sign Donovan Peoples-Jones was a sure sign the Lions were not going to be bringing Reynolds back, if another one was needed.

With the news Reynolds had signed with the Broncos, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press confirmed what had been easy to deduce.

"The Lions were interested in re-signing Reynolds for 2024, with general manager Brad Holmes insisting Tuesday that Reynolds was their "Plan A" receiver in free agency, but were reluctant to spend on a player who likely would have opened next season as their No. 3 receiver."
"They made a below-market contract offer at the start of free agency and maintained minimal contact with Reynolds' camp in recent weeks."

What exactly a "below market contract offer" to Reynolds was is unclear, and it can't be known for certain. The Broncos' offer, even with the caveat of being "up to" $14 million, likely exceeded what the rest of the market eventually bore for him though.

Reynolds certainly knew his chances of being back with the Lions were remote, so seeing what else was out there was necessary. It took some time to get the deal he got, but he got it however it realistically looks financially. That the Lions reportedly only made a cursory effort to re-sign him, with a token early offer and minimal contact afterward, is no surprise.


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