The Detroit Lions have 18 players set to become unrestricted free agents when the new league starts on March 17. One of the players likely to garner a pretty significant market is receiver Marvin Jones Jr., who just completed five successful seasons with the Detroit Lions.
Jones is 31 years old, but he proved in 2020 that he can still be a borderline No. 1 receiver. With Kenny Golladay out most of the year, Jones Jr. gained 978 yards and nine touchdowns as the team’s primary receiver.
But with the Lions headed for a pretty significant rebuild, the chances of Jones returning to Detroit seem ultimately slim. On Thursday, he joined the Sirius XM NFL Radio to talk free agency. When asked if he was searching for the best deal he could get or looking for the best fit in a team, he responded it was a combination of the two.
“I would think it’s both,” Jones said. “Obviously, in free agency, you take a look at everything. So nothing is off the table, but at this point in my career, that’s what I want. That is what I want, but at the same time, I’m not going to straight sacrifice (and) not get what I’m worth.”
The more he talked, however, the clearer it became that he may prioritize finding a successful team this March. Jones is used to winning. The University of Cal made a bowl game in three out of his four years there, and even when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals, the team was quite successful. In his four years there, the Bengals were never worse than a 10-6 team. After scoring a big contract with the Lions in 2016 but never winning more than nine games in a season, Jones admits his priorities may be a little different this time around.
“But at the same time, you take a step back. You talk to your family and maybe my priorities have changed,” Jones said. “Definitely, I’m looking for somewhere to go where I can go in and contribute and be a leader and win some games.”
It will be interesting to see what kind of market there is for Jones. Only five receivers have more touchdowns than Jones over the past two years, but it’s hard to deny that Father Time is catching up to him. Still, Jones is confident his skills have not declined.
“I am going in on my 10th season, but I’m still running past people,” Jones said. “I’m still doing the things that I’ve always done. So I have no signs of slowing down at all. I think what I get will reflect that.”
One rumored place of interest for Jones is the Los Angeles Rams to pair with his good friend Matthew Stafford. And while Jones didn’t (and couldn’t) comment on that, he did say he believes Stafford will benefit from a change of scenery to Southern California.
“I think going to LA is going to be a great situation for him, because even after 13 or so years of him—people know his ability, they know he can sling the heck out of the ball and stuff like that—but I think now people are going to really see the mentality that he has and his football intelligence.”