Marvin Jones

Urban Meyer’s Thoughts On Firing

NFL.com recently conducted an exclusive interview with former Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer. Meyer was fired by Jacksonville shortly after midnight on Thursday morning.

The interview covered many of the unflattering headlines that have colored the coach’s tenure in Duval, but started with an apology. Meyer apologized to the City of Jacksonville and painted the picture of a successful football future for the City, including a full stadium and a new facility promised by Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan.

Meyer talked a bit about something that he didn’t have a ton of experience with previously: losing. Meyer commented, “Losing eats away at your soul. Once you start losing, it’s hard on everybody.” This was perhaps most clear during what would be Meyer’s last post-game handshake of the 2021 NFL season, in which it seemed he couldn’t be bothered to even look at his former assistant, Titans’ head coach Mike Vrabel, after a convincing 20-0 loss. Meyer commented on that moment, claiming that he and Vrabel are really close and saying, “that had nothing to do with [Vrabel]…I can’t take losing. I try to accept it, it just eats away at my soul.” 

On many of the recent headlines that were thought to have contributed to his early exit, Meyer argued that they just weren’t true. Meyer said that a reported incident during which team captain Marvin Jones left the facility due to Meyer’s public and private criticism was not accurately portrayed. He also completely denied that he delivered a message to his assistant coaches that he is a winner and they are losers. Meyer also disputed that a preseason altercation occurred wherein he kicked former Jaguars’ kicker Josh Lambo while Lambo was stretching. Meyer was quoted saying, “It was like, ‘Wait a minute, where is this coming from?’ I’ve certainly made a few mistakes but those weren’t right.”

Meyer was asked about another highly criticized decision he made of benching James Robinson for an extended period of time against the Rams. The second-year running back is widely thought to be the best player on the struggling Jaguars. Meyer shrugged the decision off as a miscommunication. “We discussed it as a staff,” said Meyer. “When you see someone lose the ball or even see them be loose with the ball, get them out of the game, get their mind right, and then get them back in. When he fumbled, I said, ‘Take him out.’ We took him out and then we had lack of communication about when to put him back in.”

The other young star on Meyer’s former team is number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence. Meyer was complimentary of the 22 year old quarterback, commiserating with the tough situation he was put into. Meyer noted the franchise’s 15-game losing streak and injuries to key contributors on offense as obstacles Lawrence had to face. He ended the discussion on Lawrence saying, “There is zero doubt Trevor is going to be a great NFL quarterback.”

Questions were delivered on if there is an ongoing discussion with Jacksonville about the remaining money owed on his contract and on if Khan made the right move. Meyer declined to comment on both questions.

When asked what comes next for Meyer, he replied, “To be determined.” As of now, he has not heard from anyone in the football world about potential coaching opportunities. One can’t help but to think of where Meyer was a year ago, when he claimed he was living “the perfect life:” working at FOX with no plans to coach in the future.

Jaguars Players, Coaches Frustrated With HC Urban Meyer

Ever since Urban Meyer skipped a team flight following a Week 4 loss to the Bengals, there have been questions surrounding the head coach’s commitment to and control within the Jaguars organization. In fact, we heard just last night that Meyer and GM Trent Baalke may not be seeing eye to eye. Well, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network has added some fuel to that fire this morning.

According to the reporter, tensions surrounding Meyer have “boiled over with multiple run-ins with players and other coaches in recent weeks.” This has led to rumblings that Meyer could be done in Jacksonville after only one season. The organization is naturally frustrated as they currently have a 2-10 record and have averaged only 10.6 points per game over the six contests since their bye. The HC has continually shifted blame on the players and coaches, per Pelissero, comments that have only helped to “exacerbated frustration in the building.”

The reporter provided more damning anecdotes that seem to show that things are spiraling out of control in Jacksonville. For starters, respected veteran wideout Marvin Jones recently left team facilities before returning and having a heated exchange with Meyer. Next, Meyer reportedly belittled coaches in a meeting by declaring that he was a “winner” and insinuating that his fellow coaches were “losers.” Finally, James Robinson‘s recent benching was indeed Meyer’s decision, and the HC tasked RB coach Bernie Parmalee with preventing the starter from reentering the game. Robinson only got more playing time once top-overall pick Trevor Lawrence questioned why his teammate wasn’t playing.

As Pelissero details, there’s a number of additional reasons why someone would question Meyer’s authority in Jacksonville. Multiple members of his staff have either stepped away or will be taking jobs elsewhere, and the organization was also slapped with fines about the HC’s violation of OTA rules (Meyer was also investigated after acknowledging that he factored vaccination status into his roster decisions). Then there was that whole flight fiasco earlier this season, which was followed by a notorious viral video that showed Meyer at a bar dancing with a woman.

Despite it all, Pelissero writes that owner Shad Khan has shown “no signs” of wanting to make a change. Khan has generally been loyal to his staff, and the owner had pursued Meyer for years. Unless things are truly too far gone, it sounds like Khan will be in favor of giving Meyer a second season with the organization.

Jaguars, WR Marvin Jones Agree To Deal

Marvin Jones indicated he wanted to join a contending team in free agency. But the former Bengals and Lions wideout will instead join a rebuilding project in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars are signing the nine-year veteran wide receiver, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. It’s a two-year, $14.5MM deal that includes $9.2MM fully guaranteed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

We heard back in mid-February that Jones was interested in joining the Jaguars. A coaching hire may have made a difference in bringing the veteran target to north Florida. Jones will follow former Lions assistant Darrell Bevell to Jacksonville. The Jags hired the ex-Detroit interim HC as its offensive coordinator earlier this year.

This week has not featured an aggressive wide receiver market, and Jones will fall short of the $8MM-per-year deal he inked with the Lions in 2016. Jones will join Phillip Dorsett in trekking to Jacksonville, though the former should be expected to start. Jones, Dorsett and other Jaguars are expected to be joined by Trevor Lawrence soon.

In three of Jones’ five seasons with Detroit, he exceeded 900 receiving yards. His best season came in 2017, when the Lions featured he, Golden Tate and then-rookie Kenny Golladay. Even at age 30 last year, Jones reached 978 yards. He totaled nine receiving touchdowns in each of the past two seasons and will add a proven target for the Jaguars, who exited last season without much in the way of those.

Jacksonville has D.J. Chark under contract for one more season, with receiver/occasional backfield cog Laviska Shenault showing flashes last year. The team that entered this week with the NFL’s most cap space may not be done at receiver, but Jones represents a nice addition who will stand to help a rookie quarterback assimilate.

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.

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.

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.

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.