Marvin Jones

NFC West Notes: Rams, Jones, 49ers, LeBron

Marvin Jones exited his ninth NFL season without a playoff win, and the former Bengals and Lions wideout is looking for a championship contender to become his third team. His most recent quarterback is already pitching him on a trip to Los Angeles. Matthew Stafford called Jones about teaming up with the Rams, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. The soon-to-be 31-year-old receiver, however, is believed to have interest in joining the Dolphins and Jaguars. Jones played out a five-year contract with the Lions, with Stafford being his primary QB. The Rams are not exactly in position to be chasing higher-end free agents, being more than $30MM over the cap as of Friday. And the team has Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp signed long-term, with Van Jefferson under team control through 2023. But the Stafford move shows the Rams are making a big push. Through that lens, Jones would make sense as an auxiliary option.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • The 49ers are facing a tough situation with Dee Ford, who is battling a back injury that sidelined him for 15 games last season. If the former Pro Bowl pass rusher is not healthy by April 1, his $11.6MM injury guarantee becomes fully guaranteed. With John Lynch indicating recently Ford may not be ready by the 2021 season, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, it appears safe to assume the 49ers will eat that cap charge. This is a somewhat similar situation to Ford’s 2018 offseason, when the Chiefs were forced to pick up Ford’s fifth-year option because he was unable to pass a physical. The 49ers restructured Ford’s contract last year, ballooning his 2021 cap number to $20.1MM — second on the team. The most San Francisco could save with a Ford cut would be $3.7MM, in a post-June 1 transaction.
  • A more proven pass rusher does not have to worry about any release. Asked about an NFL.com list of prospective cap casualties that included Chandler Jones, Cardinals GM Steve Keim rejected the notion that is on the table during an appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (via the Arizona Republic). Jones is due to count $20.8MM against Arizona’s 2021 cap. The two-time All-Pro is entering the final season of a $16.5MM-per-year deal that has fallen to 13th among edge rushers, pointing to a potential extension that would lower his cap hit.
  • A year prior to the Seahawks‘ run of playoff appearances, they reached out to a notable ex-wide receiver about potentially joining a then-Tarvaris Jackson-quarterbacked team. LeBron James confirmed that, in addition to the Cowboys contacting him about a tryout, the Seahawks did the same during the 2011 NBA lockout. Then in his second year as Seattle’s HC, Pete Carroll shipped James a custom Seahawks jersey along with the workout invite. “I would have tried out, but I would have made the team,” James said, via The Athletic’s Christopher Kamrani and Bill Oram (subscription required). “I don’t mind working for something, so if I would have had to try out for the Cowboys or the Seahawks, or if I’d have stayed home and went back home to Cleveland, I’d have tried (out), but I would have made the team.” Some close to James, 26 during the lockout, convinced him not to go through with NFL workouts. The NBA legend received significant recruiting interest as a wideout at St. Vincent-St. Mary High in Akron but quit the sport ahead of his senior year.

Lions’ Marvin Jones To Chase Super Bowl In Free Agency

Marvin Jones will be looking to play for a contender in 2021. In an interview with SiriusXM, Jones said that he’ll be looking to join a winner, though he still wants to get a fair value deal. 

[RELATED: Marvin Jones Interested In Dolphins?]

At this point in my career, that’s what I want,” Jones said. (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “But at the same time, it’s not going to be — I’m not going to just straight sacrifice and not get what I’m worth just because I’ve put in my work to get where I’m at and it happened the first time and I did it, and I think I outplayed it the second time.

Jones signed a five-year $40MM deal with the Lions in March of 2016 with $13MM fully guaranteed. He went on to have the most efficient year of his career in 2017, averaging a league-high 18 yards per grab. After that, injuries and issues with the Lions’ offense slowed him down a bit, though he’s remained productive. Last year, Jones turned in his best stat line since ’17 — 76 grabs for 978 yards and nine touchdowns.

Jones, 31 in March, will enter free agency as one of the best receivers available, just behind the likes of Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin. A return to the Lions still remains possible, but Jones would be catching passes from Jared Goff rather than longtime pal Matthew Stafford.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Aiming To Add Multiple WRs

The Dolphins have DeVante Parker signed long-term, but they appear set to devote free agency funds and/or draft capital to addressing their other wide receiver spots.

In addition to seeking help opposite Parker on the boundary, the Dolphins believe they need to upgrade in the slot as well, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. The franchise plans to address both positions, be it in free agency or the draft. With several receivers set to be available in unrestricted free agency and other pass catchers on the cap-casualty radar, this is a good year to need help at this position.

Prior to the franchise tag deadline, the receiver market is set to include Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, Will Fuller, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, T.Y. Hilton, Corey Davis, Antonio Brown, Curtis Samuel, Nelson Agholor, Sammy Watkins and A.J. Green. Potential cap casualties, like the Jets’ Jamison Crowder or Bills’ John Brown, may join this list and further create a buyer’s market for receiver-needy teams. While most of this group’s futures remain uncertain, the Buccaneers are not planning to let Godwin become available. Though, Tampa Bay has several high-profile free agents of note.

Multiple players in this group already have interest in Miami, per Jackson, who adds that Jones and Hilton have the Dolphins on their respective radars. (The Jaguars are also on Jones’ radar, according to Jackson.) While both Jones and Hilton are over 30, neither’s price should be expected to approach the high-end WR1 ranks. The Dolphins currently sit eighth in cap space, though other receiver-needy teams — like the Jaguars, Colts, Jets and Patriots — reside on a higher tier in terms of offseason funds.

The Dolphins currently hold two first-round picks (Nos. 3 and 18) and two second-rounders (Nos. 36 and 50). With another strong receiver class set to enter the league, the team would be well positioned to address either its slot or boundary needs here. Though, the Texans making Deshaun Watson available could change the Dolphins’ draft outlook. Miami resides at or near the top of the disgruntled quarterback’s destination list. But whoever the Dolphins slot at quarterback next season should have a better arsenal to target.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

More Fallout From Matthew Stafford Trade

It’s been a week since the Rams and Lions completed the Matthew Stafford trade, but the fallout from that deal is ongoing. Here’s the latest:

  • We previously heard that the Panthers offered their No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft, plus a later pick, for Stafford. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), that later selection was a fifth-rounder, and Carolina also included Teddy Bridgewater in the proposal, so the Lions would at least have had a veteran signal-caller to take Stafford’s place while they groomed a younger QB. Plus, Detroit would have had the No. 7 and No. 8 overall picks in the draft, so it would have had a terrific chance to land a top collegiate passer and another elite prospect, or at least enough ammo to trade up for a top QB prospect.
  • What’s more, Bridgewater’s contract is much less onerous than that of Jared Goff, who ended up going to the Lions in the swap. But as Peter Schrager of the NFL Network tweets, the Lions didn’t just take on Goff’s contract in order to squeeze more draft picks out of the Rams. They actually wanted Goff and believe he can regain the form he displayed in the 2017-18 seasons, which is a key factor in evaluating Detroit’s return.
  • When negotiations with the Rams commenced, though, the Lions were interested in another high-profile LA player. As Schefter reports in a separate tweet, Detroit first requested DT Aaron Donald, a request that the Rams summarily dismissed. Donald just landed his third Defensive Player of the Year award, and he obviously would have gone a long way towards the Lions’ much-needed defensive rebuild.
  • Stafford’s presence is attracting free agents to the Rams, as Schefter writes. Already, players have reached out to Stafford to express their interest in teaming up with him in Los Angeles, and Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones — who is eligible for free agency — is one such player. However, the Rams are projected to be well over the new salary cap of $180.5MM, so it’s unclear how active they will be in the free agent market.

Marvin Jones’ Youngest Son Passes Away

A tragedy has struck the NFL today. Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones and his wife Jazmyn Jones lost their youngest son, Marlo Jones, on Friday. Marlo was the youngest of the couples five children and was just six months old. No details have been released surrounding the circumstances of the death.

The Lions broke the news through a team press release earlier today.

Jones later confirmed the news in an Instagram post that featured a photo of Marlo and the following statement: “Yesterday the Lord called home a piece of my family’s heart, Marlo. It is hard to believe that our little angel, our fighter from day one, our son ‘Marlito’ has unfortunately passed away and is no longer here with us. Marlo, the joy that you brought to us everyday, with that smile, and that energy was like heaven on earth. You will always be in our hearts. We will always remember you. We did not get the chance to hear your first words (It would’ve been in Spanish too) ☺️. We didn’t get to see you run with your brothers and sister, you ran with them with your eyes everyday. We know that everything that We do from here on out will be with you. Every step we take, you will be with us. Whenever we have a bad day, We will think of your smile. We miss you already buddy and will forever love you. Rest peacefully our sweet baby boy. You have gained your wings.

The entire staff at Pro Football Rumors offers our condolences to the Jones family.

Lions Place Marvin Jones On IR

The Lions placed wide receiver Marvin Jones on IR, head coach Matt Patricia announced. The ankle injury suffered by Jones late in Sunday’s loss to the Vikings proved to be fairly serious and he’ll be held out of action the rest of the way in order to heal up.

Jones had three receptions for 38 yards in the loss and played through the pain to finish the game. This brings an early end to a productive season for the veteran, who finishes out with 62 catches for 779 yards and nine touchdowns (four of those scores came in the Lions’ first game against the Vikings.)

Jones will turn 30 in March and is set to earn a base salary of $6.5MM in 2020. In theory, the Lions can cut him instead – saving $6.5MM against just $2.695MM in dead money. However, Jones has demonstrated clear value, so it stands to reason that he’ll be back next year.

Jones also finished the 2018 season on IR, thanks to a knee injury. It’s undoubtedly frustrating for Jones, but he did succeed in having a bounce back year – he easily topped his 2018 stat line of 35/508/5.

To fill Jones’ roster spot, the Lions signing defensive tackle Frank Herron off of the Dolphins’ practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Steelers, Lions, Broncos, Jets

Nat Berhe had a disappointing season in Pittsburgh last year. The safety signed with the Steelers last April, was released at final cuts, and then re-signed before Week 1. He was a minor contributor on defense and special teams for a few weeks, before landing on injured reserve with a pec injury. Berhe remains a free agent now, and he recently told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that he had “some early contact” with the Steelers this offseason (Twitter link).

Berhe also told Fowler that he’s open to returning to the Steelers in 2019, but for now he’s “focused on adding size” before landing in a training camp. A San Diego State product, Berhe originally entered the league as a fifth round pick of the Giants back in 2014. He spent the first four years of his career in New York before signing a one-year, $790K deal with the Steelers. It’s not shocking that teams haven’t exactly been beating down his door to sign him.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • 2019 is going to be a very key season for Lions receiver Marvin Jones. After Detroit traded away Golden Tate, Jones was supposed to take over as the clear top receiver. Unfortunately, Jones’ season was ended in late November by a knee injury. According to Dake Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, there was some drama between Jones and the team after Jones criticized Matt Patricia’s policy of having injured players watch games from the press box on social media. Interestingly, Birkett writes that Jones “doesn’t seem long for a Patricia-coached team that has moved on from other players who aren’t yes-sir-I’ll-do-whatever-you-say types.” That being said, Birkett would be shocked if anything were to happen before the end of the season, as they’re counting on Jones to be a large part of the offense. Still it sounds like Jones, who didn’t participate in OTAs or minicamp due to his injury, might not be in the team’s longterm plans.
  • Heading into last season, the Broncos had one of the most stable kicking situations in the league. They had recently given a huge extension to Brandon McManus, but then McManus struggled last season. He wasn’t himself, and then Denver added former AAF kicker Taylor Bertolet this offseason. Despite the addition of competition, it “doesn’t appear McManus’ job is in any jeopardy,” writes Kyle Fredrickson of the Denver Post. Per Fredrickson, Broncos coach Vic Fangio recently said McManus is the “obvious incumbent,” and that Bertolet “would have to knock him out like in a heavyweight battle” to win the job.
  • The Jets made a splashy move this offseason by bringing in Le’Veon Bell, but he wasn’t the only running back they added. New York also signed Ty Montgomery, who has apparently been making an impression. Montgomery started his career with the Packers, and was traded to the Ravens at the deadline last season before inking a one-year deal with the Jets in April. Montgomery so far has “been the beneficiary of Le’Veon Bell staying away for much of the voluntary portion of the offseason program,” as he’s “gotten a ton of reps,” according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. Costello writes that he’s also the “current favorite to be the kick returner” in 2019. Montgomery was a starter at times for the Packers in 2016 and 2017, but fell out of favor in Green Bay. Playing for only $895K with just $90K of it guaranteed, it sounds like he’s got a decent shot to re-establish himself with the Jets.

Lions To Place WR Marvin Jones On IR

Marvin Jones‘ third Lions season will come to an end early. Detroit will place the veteran wide receiver on IR, Justin Rogers of the Detroit News tweets.

A knee injury has sidelined Jones in recent weeks. The Lions are signing linebacker Nicholas Grigsby to fill Jones’ roster spot, per Rogers (on Twitter).

Detroit dealt Golden Tate to Philadelphia this season but soon after lost Jones to injury. The 2017 Lions saw both players exceed 1,000 yards, making them the only 1,000-1,000 receiver tandem last season, but this year’s group will play without both the rest of the way. Kenny Golladay will take over as the Lions’ No. 1 wideout.

Signed through 2020 on his $40MM deal, Jones had played in 31 regular-season games with Detroit from 2016-17. He’ll end up missing seven this season. The 28-year-old wideout caught 35 passes for 508 yards and five touchdowns this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: McCarthy, Lions, Tuitt, Ravens

Mike McCarthy‘s enjoyed the benefit of coaching two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, and the Packers have qualified for nine playoff brackets in the coach’s 12 previous seasons. But with the team in danger of missing the NFC bracket for the second straight season, McCarthy appears to be firmly on the hot seat. The 13th-year Green Bay coach’s job status is “pretty clearly” uncertain regarding 2019, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). McCarthy signed a one-year extension to take him through the ’19 season, so the team isn’t committed long-term here. He’s now reporting to team president Mark Murphy under the post-Ted Thompson power structure, and with Brian Gutekunst now GM, different voices will have a say if McCarthy will be brought back.

That’s the job. That’s the way this business has gone,” McCarthy said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, when asked about his status. “I’m not going to get into comparables, but at the end of the day that’s part of the job responsibility of the head coachWe set a standard here the past 12 years and it’s our responsibility to play to that standard.”

The Packers are venturing near must-win territory if they want to secure their ninth playoff berth in 10 seasons. They face the Vikings in Minnesota next week.

Here’s the latest from the North divisions:

  • The post-Megatron Lions relied on the Marvin JonesGolden Tate tandem. For the first time since Calvin Johnson retired, neither will suit up for Detroit. Jones is out for Sunday’s game against the Panthers after missing practice this week, and ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein reports the veteran Lions wideout is seeking a second opinion on his injured right knee. Initial tests revealed no damage to Jones’ ACL or MCL, and Jones was diagnosed with a bone bruise. He’ll miss only his second game as a Lion. T.J. Jones would likely be the starter in Marvin Jones‘ place.
  • T.J. Lang‘s Lions tenure hasn’t gone as smoothly from a health standpoint. The former Pro Bowl guard landed on IR this week because of a neck injury, but that setback is not believed to be career-threatening, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports. Lang also suffered a concussion that forced him to miss time earlier this season. He only played in six games this season after missing three in 2017. Set for his age-32 season next year, Lang — with an $11.1MM cap number — will be a release candidate in the offseason. The Lions could save more than $8MM by releasing the acclaimed blocker. Lang is due a $500K roster bonus on the fourth day of the upcoming league year.
  • Darius Slay, however, will be back for the Lions after missing Week 10. Bears wideout Allen Robinson gouged the Lions in Slay’s absence, but the All-Pro cornerback was not on the injury report as of Friday and will return Sunday.
  • While the 2018 Jaguars haven’t been the kind of impediment the 2017 version was, the Steelers will be without a key starter in their attempt to beat a team that went 2-0 against them last season. Stephon Tuitt will miss Sunday’s game with an elbow injury he sustained against the Panthers. Tyson Alualu will start in Tuitt’s place up front, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Although Robert Griffin III has been mentioned as a possible Ravens starter Sunday, the expectation remains Lamar Jackson will take the reins, Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Jackson’s hospital trip Thursday, coupled with Joe Flacco‘s hip injury, left Griffin as the Ravens’ lone practice quarterback that day. But Jackson returned to practice Friday.

NFC North Notes: Lions, Packers, Bears

Matthew Stafford hasn’t had a particularly productive campaign in 2018, and the Lions have struggled to a 3-6 record while ranking just 9th in offensive DVOA. But that doesn’t mean Detroit will have any interest — or opportunity — to move on from its veteran quarterback this offseason, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes. “You’ve got as much chance of getting rid of Matthew Stafford as the Baltimore Ravens did of Joe Flacco prior to next year, because there was no way they were ever getting rid of Joe Flacco because of the way his contract was structured until 2019 at the earliest,” says former agent and current CBS.com contributor Joel Corry. Stafford signed a five-year, $135MM extension in 2017 that included a $50MM signing bonus. That bonus is prorated through 2021 at a rate of $10MM annually, meaning it will be virtually impossible for the Lions to cut Stafford before 2020. Among the 25 signal-callers that have attempted at least 250 passes this season, Stafford ranks just 15th in passer rating and 20th in adjusted net yards per attempt.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • One of Stafford’s weapons, wide receiver Marvin Jones, went down with a knee injury in Sunday’s loss to the Bears, but tests showed the Lions pass-catcher’s ACL and MCL are both intact, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. However, Jones did suffer a bone bruise and is now considered day-to-day. It’s unclear if Jones will be able to play against the Panthers in Week 11, but Detroit needs all the receivers it can find (having already traded Golden Tate to the Eagles earlier this month). If Jones can’t go, fellow wideouts Bruce Ellington, Brandon Powell, and T.J. Jones would see more work behind starter Kenny Golladay. Marvin Jones, currently in his third season with the Lions, has posted 35 receptions, 508 yards, and five touchdowns this year.
  • Speaking of injuries, the Packers will be without several of their key players when they face the Seahawks on Thursday night. Per Schefter (Twitter link), wide receiver Randall Cobb, linebacker Nick Perry, cornerback Kevin King, and safety Kentrell Brice will not make the trip to Seattle. Cobb’s absence means rookie pass-catchers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown will continue to see more work alongside Davante Adams, while Perry will be replaced by Kyler Fackrell and Reggie Gilbert. King, meanwhile, didn’t play in Week 10, leaving cornerback snaps to to Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, and Bashaud Breeland.
  • The Bears did not try to re-sign guard Tom Compton this past offseason, the veteran tells Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “No,” he said. “They were pretty up front about that.” Compton wound up signing with the Vikings for less than he made with the Bears in 2017. After earning $1.85MM on a one-year deal with Chicago, he inked a one-year, $900K deal with Minnesota. Originally signed to be a backup, Compton was thrust into the starting lineup after Nick Easton suffered a season-ending injury in August.
  • In case you missed it, the Lions placed starting right guard T.J. Lang on injured reserve, meaning his season is now over due to a neck injury.