THURSDAY, 3:41pm: The Lions have officially signed Jones, the team announced today in a press release.
WEDNESDAY, 1:58pm: It’s a five-year, $40MM deal for Jones, per Rapoport (Twitter link). $17MM is fully guaranteed ($20MM guaranteed overall), and Jones will earn $27MM through the first three years.
9:00am: Jones told Michael Silver of NFL Network (on Twitter) that it was a “stressful decision” for him, but he ultimately chose the Lions over the Bengals.
8:24am: The Lions will sign wide receiver Marvin Jones, according sources who spoke with Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Jones will give Detroit some reinforcements following the retirement of Calvin Johnson, though he probably won’t be counted on to singularly replace his production. The deal will pay Jones roughly $8MM per year, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
It was reported earlier today that Jones was atop the Lions’ wish list, though Detroit certainly wasn’t alone in that regard. The Giants were also high on the veteran, new Browns coach Hue Jackson wanted a reunion, and the incumbent Bengals considered him to be a priority free agent.
In 13 starts last season, Jones caught 65 passes for 816 yards and four touchdowns. It was a solid bounceback for Jones after he lost the 2014 season due to an injured ankle. When considering him, the Browns were reportedly hoping that Jones could break out as a Pro Bowl-caliber receiver if he’s not playing in the shadow of star A.J. Green and one has to imagine that the Lions are thinking the same thing.
Golden Tate‘s deal with the Lions, inked one year ago, was thought to be a possible reference point for a deal. Tate signed with Detroit on a five-year deal worth $31MM, including $16MM in guaranteed cash. Based on AAV, it sounds like Jones has bested Tate.
With Jones out of the picture, the Bengals might have even more incentive to get something done with fellow free agent receiver Mohamed Sanu. Jones’ contract also pushes the market for free agent wide receivers. While PFR had Jones ranked as the No. 1 available receiver this offseason, his $8MM average annual value trumps what most projected for him. There are several receiver-needy teams this week and other top options like Travis Benjamin, Rishard Matthews, Rueben Randle, Anquan Boldin, and Jermaine Kearse could benefit from Jones’ payday.
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