Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. is returning to the city where he authored the best seasons of his NFL career, signing a one-year contract with the Detroit Lions Thursday evening.
Jones announced the signing himself, with NFL Media reporting soon after that he will make $3 million this season, with incentives that could increase it to $5 million.
Jones is entering the 12th season of his NFL career, and has spent the last eight seasons as a starter for three different teams. The best stretch of his career came from 2016-2020 with the Lions, where he started 71 games and appeared in 73 as one of the top targets for quarterback Matthew Stafford. In his tenure as a Lion, Jones had 289 catches for 4,377 yards and 36 touchdowns. He also recorded the lone 1,000-yard season of his career (1,101 in 2017), and led the NFL by averaging 18 yards per catch that same season.
He left the Lions to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a free agent following the 2020 season, inking a two-year, $14.5 million deal. Jones caught 46 passes for 549 yards and three touchdowns while in a crowded Jaguars receiving room this past season, his lowest totals across the board for a season in which he played 13 or more games. Jones also saw more work go toward free agent signings Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, as well as tight end Evan Engram.
He will add a much-needed veteran presence to the Lions’ receiving room, led by third-year star Amon-Ra St. Brown and last year’s first-round pick Jameson Williams, and also featuring veterans Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond. Jones should take on the role as a mentor to many of those names; his 11 NFL seasons are nearly as many as all four players combined (which include several seasons as a depth player), and his 565 career receptions top the combined 503 those four players have produced.