Marvin Jones

Lions Release Marvin Jones; WR Stepping Away From Football

Marvin Jones has decided to step away from football to attend to a family matter, something which will bring an end to his Lions tenure. The veteran wideout will be released later today, as noted by Justin Rodger of the Detroit News. The team has since announced the move.

Jones took to Instagram on Tuesday to address his situation. A statement from the 33-year-old reads in part, “I am stepping away from the team to take care of personal family matters. Although this was no easy decision, I cannot be the person/player that I need to be for this team as well as tend to my family from afar. This organization has been amazing showing love and support for myself and my family over the years and this time is no different.”

After three seasons (and four years) in Cincinnati, Jones first joined the Lions in 2016. That began a five-year run in the Motor City which included his best seasons. The former fifth-rounder eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in 2017, a year in which he led the league in yards per reception with 18 and matched his career-best in touchdowns with nine.

Jones later spent 2021 and ’22 in Jacksonville, serving as a dependable target in the former year in particular before seeing his playing time drop considerably in the latter campaign. Expectations for a bounce-back season were raised, however, when he re-joined the Lions this offseason on a one-year deal. That pact had a base value of $3MM and included another $2MM worth of incentives which, given his performance to date along with today’s news, will not be reached.

Detroit already had Amon-Ra St. Brown in place atop their WR depth chart before adding Jones in free agency. The latter joined the likes of Josh Reynolds, Kalif Raymond and the recently-reinstated Jameson Williams as complementary options in the passing game, one which has done well without Jones playing a notable role. The Cal product made just five catches for 35 scoreless yards in his return to Detroit. His release will create $2.2MM in a dead cap charge in 2023, along with $800K next season since his pact includes a void year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/31/23

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

  • Signed: CB Lorenzo Burns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Signed: CB Anthony Witherstone
  • Placed on IR: LB Isaiah Moore

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

Derrick Gore is probably the most intriguing signee on the list, with the running back having seen time in 11 games for the Chiefs in 2021. He finished that season with 361 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns, but he didn’t have a chance for a followup performance in Kansas City. After landing on IR in late August last year, he was ultimately released by the Chiefs. Gore caught on with the Saints and spent the majority of the 2022 season on their practice squad.

Yasir Durant is another Chiefs product, with the lineman getting into 11 games for Kansas City in 2020. He appeared in seven games for the Patriots in 2021 before spending most of last season on the Saints practice squad. He’ll be taking the roster spot previously held by Christian DiLauro, who got into five games for the Titans and Broncos over the past two years.

Darius Harris will be joining the Raiders following a career year in Kansas City. After being limited to only 11 games through his first two seasons in the NFL, Harris got into all 17 games for the Chiefs last year, including four starts. The former UDFA finished the year with 43 tackles and 1.5 sacks, and he added another five tackles in three playoff games. One of Harris’s strongest performances of the 2022 season came against the Raiders when he had 10 tackles and a sack.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/23/23

Here are today’s minor moves heading into the week:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Ravens fans can breathe a sigh of relief now that Bateman is set to return for camp. Bateman missed most of the team’s spring activities after receiving a cortisone shot in hopes it would help him get back in time for camp. It was slightly concerning that he didn’t initially report with the rest of the team, but general manager Eric DeCosta had reassured the media that Bateman was expected back soon. Two days later and Bateman should be in attendance for camp to start this week.

Claypool has been dealing with a soft tissue injury from earlier in the offseason. He was expected back in time for camp but clearly will have to wait a bit to rejoin the team.

With the departure of Eli Apple in free agency, Awuzie is expected to take a step up in the Bengals’ defense this year. Cincinnati will hope to get him back and working with the first-team secondary again soon. The absences of Cochran and Collins leave the team a little thin on tackle depth, but the starters remain available as Jonah Williams avoids any injury designations.

Detroit will have Jameson Williams available for training camp but not for the start of the season. The Lions will be hoping to get the opposite result for Jones, who will be unavailable to start camp.

Lions, WR Marvin Jones Agree To Deal

A reunion is in store for the Lions and a familiar face on offense. Veteran wideout Marvin Jones Jr. is signing in Detroit on a one-year deal, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

The contract has a base value of $3MM, while incentives could push it to $5MM. This deal will allow the 33-year-old to return to the Motor City, where he played between 2016 and 2020. It was during that span that he enjoyed the most productive campaigns of his career.

After starting his career with the Bengals, Jones established himself as one of the NFL’s top deep deep threats with the Lions. In 2017, he posted 1,101 yards and nine touchdowns on a league-leading average of 18 yards per reception. While his production dipped in the following seasons with injuries, the former fifth-rounder rebounded with 978 yards and another nine touchdowns in his final Lions term.

That helped earn Jones a two-year, $14.5MM contract with the Jaguars on the open market. The Cal product was brought in to serve as a veteran presence on an otherwise young team, and he was relied on heavily in 2021. Drawing a career-high 120 targets that year, Jones put up a 73-832-4 statline. His workload took a signficant step back this past season, after Jacksonville had made a number of investments in their pass-catching corps. As a result, Jones’ yardage total dropped to its lowest figure since 2018.

Still, he should be able to operate as a consistent secondary option amidst the Lions’ WR options. Detroit had a surprisingly efficient passing attack in 2022, but Amon-Ra St. Brown easily distanced himself from the rest of the team’s wideouts in terms of production. Especially since one-year signing DJ Chark has departed for the Panthers, Jones will be able to fill a veteran void at the position upon his return.

In addition to St. Brown, and now Jones, the Lions will of course also have 2022 first-rounder Jameson Williams in place for 2023. The latter was, as expected, limited in his game action and workload during his rookie campaign due to his recovery from a torn ACL. Now healthy, the Alabama product should give Detroit significant upside in their downfield passing game. Jones will give the team an additional boost in that regard, as he looks to regain his previous form with the team in the coming season.

Urban Meyer’s Thoughts On Firing 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 tweets. It’s a two-year, $14.5MM deal that includes $9.2MM fully guaranteed, Adam Schefter of 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 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.