Wide receiver Marvin Jones is set to cash in, as reports indicate he is expected to sign with the Detroit Lions on Wednesday.
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported that the Cleveland Browns "came in with a low offer" for Jones and "were not serious contenders."
The move comes just one day after superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson announced his retirement from the NFL, according to the team. That means Jones will step into a starting role across from Golden Tate on Detroit's offense.
Jones broke out in a big way with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013, with 51 catches for 712 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns. After he missed the entire 2014 campaign due to an ankle injury, however, it was uncertain how well he would bounce back in 2015.
The former fifth-round pick out of California answered those questions, though, setting career marks with 65 grabs and 816 yards to go along with four scores.
After Jones came back from injury and enjoyed such a strong year, Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus had little doubt that he was in line to become a rich man:
Working on a free agency piece and writing the words 'Marvin Jones' next to 'potential free agent targets' a lot. Guy should get PAID.— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) February 3, 2016
The soon-to-be 26-year-old wideout was well-aware of that, and made it clear that he intended to take advantage of the position he had put himself in, according to NFL Media (h/t Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer): "I'd like to be back, but at the same time I am a free agent—no hometown discount, definitely not—but I'm a free agent. It wouldn't be good for me not to test the waters a little bit. So it's just an exciting process."
Jones expressed a willingness to remain with the Bengals despite his search for a big payday, via Owczarski, but he entered free agency with a totally open mind:
In terms of the money, that's an issue that they'll hash out. But at the same time, I want to be a great wide receiver in this league. Sometimes an opportunity presents itself. If it's a good opportunity for me as we sit back and weigh the options, the pros and cons to everything, then it might happen. But I might stay. It's just a thing in the next couple weeks I have just to wait and chill and kind of let it play out. ...
It's an exciting time. It's been four years, and there was ups and downs and stuff like that. I've had a great career in Cincinnati. I've loved everyone. I loved the camaraderie from top to bottom; just a first-class organization. I tip my hat off to how they run the organization. But, you know, I'm a free agent. There's nothing but happiness that's coming out of this whether I go or stay.
With Green and tight end Tyler Eifert in place, it can be argued that Jones' ceiling with the Bengals wouldn't have been as high as it may be in Detroit, where he will vie with Tate to be quarterback Matthew Stafford's No. 1 target.
Jones put up some solid production and gave himself a chance to land a big contract, but he now has an opportunity to raise his profile and become one of the league's better receivers.
There is little doubt that Dalton and the Bengals will miss what Jones brought to the table as a complementary weapon, but it simply wasn't feasible to offer him a competitive contract in comparison to what he received on the open market.
Conversely, the Lions desperately needed to find a replacement for Megatron, and while Jones is a different type of receiver, he has a chance to excel in an offense that made great strides down the stretch in 2015.
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