| Detroit Free Press
Marvin Jones picked quite the time to have two of his best games of the season, and now the Detroit Lions have quite the decision to make about his future.
Jones was one of the few bright spots in the Lions’ 41-21 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, catching two touchdown passes and perhaps enhancing his trade value in the process.
The Lions are 3-4 entering Tuesday’s trade deadline, on the fringe of the wild card race and in a spot similar to where they were when they traded Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles two years ago.
Jones, like Tate, is in the final season of his contact — Tate turned down an extension days before the 2018 trade deadline — and does not appear to be part of the organization’s long-term plans.
Despite the similarities, Jones, who had five catches for 80 yards in last week’s win over the Atlanta Falcons, said Sunday he “most definitely” expects to be a Lion the rest of the season.
“They can do what they have to do,” Jones said. “Right now, I’m a Lion and I’m in a Lions jersey and I’m playing for the Lions. If I’m out there, I’m practicing, that’s what I’m doing now, I’m putting on the No. 11 jersey with the Lions until further notice. So there’s nothing for me to worry about or even ask. What they do, that’s what they do, so that’s just what it is.”
The Lions made a trade this week to bolster their pass rush, acquiring defensive end Everson Griffen from the Dallas Cowboys for a 2021 draft pick.
In 2018, the Lions were 3-3 when they traded for defensive lineman Damon Harrison, then lost a home game the next week and went into sell mode.
Things could be different this year for several reasons.
First, Lions general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia face an uncertain future in Year 3 of their time together in Detroit. In 2018, Patricia was in his first season as head coach and neither man was in any danger of losing his job.
Beyond that, the Lions lost No. 1 wide receiver Kenny Golladay to a hip injury Sunday for an undetermined amount of time.
Golladay’s absence could leave Jones as the Lions’ top receiver.
While Tate was one of the Lions’ most productive players when he was traded as a 30-year-old two years ago, the Lions still had a formidable duo in Golladay and Jones outside.
Still, dealing Jones for a future draft pick — Tate netted a third-rounder — might be the best move for a Lions team that currently sits sixth in the chase for three NFC wild card spots and would be considered a long shot to make any noise if it does make the playoffs.
Jones said he has not asked Quinn or Patricia for clarification about future and has no plans to this week.
“I don’t need clarification,” he said. “I’ve been in here long enough. Running good, feel good, so whatever it is, that’s what it is.”
Golladay suffered his hip injury late in the first half and remained in the locker room in the second half. The Lions also lost return man Jamal Agnew (ribs) and offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai (foot) to injury Sunday.
Golladay missed two games with a hamstring injury earlier this season, and Vaitai, who had his left foot tended to in the first half, missed two games with a foot injury.
“I think we had a couple things today that we had to sort through and find out (how severe they are),” Lions coach Matt Patricia said.
Vaitai made his first start of the season Sunday at right tackle, giving the Lions their fourth different starting combination on their offensive line in seven games.
Vaitai replaced Tyrell Crosby, who practiced late in the week at left tackle after Taylor Decker suffered a shoulder injury.
Decker started and played every snap Sunday, with rookie Jonah Jackson at left guard and Joe Dahl at right guard. Dahl has played primarily left guard when healthy the last two seasons.
The Lions had their worst rushing day of the season Sunday, gaining 29 yards on 13 carries, and their offensive line allowed five sacks.
“I think for us, obviously we’re always going to try to do what we think is right,” Patricia said. “We got six guys that have started for us and we have confidence in all those guys.”