Catching passes from Matthew Stafford was something that Marvin Jones got acclimated to in the past five seasons during his time with the Detroit Lions. Could Jones be one of the players from the Lions who reunites with Stafford on the Los Angeles Rams this offseason?
With the stellar acquisition of Stafford, the Rams could very well be in the market for a wide receiver that can create plays down the field. Josh Reynolds is an impending free agent and Los Angeles isn’t expected to make an effort to retain him this offseason.
When free agency gets underway, I fully expect the Rams to be a team who is seeking a bargain option at the wide receiver position. I’ve already done a free-agent profile for John Ross, who could also be a target for Los Angeles once the free agency period begins.
By looking at their current cap situation, Los Angeles isn’t going to be able to afford any of the elite wide receivers on the open market. But with Jones likely being a feasible addition, I’ll be taking a quick look at how he’s fared thus far in his career, if he’d be an ideal fit on the Rams, and what his free-agency market could look like.
Back in 2012, Jones jumpstarted his career in the NFL as a fifth-round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals out of Cal. Jones had a somewhat quiet rookie season in 2012 as he tallied only 18 receptions for 201 yards and one touchdown in 11 games of action.
However, in his sophomore campaign, Jones exploded for 51 catches, 712 yards, and 10 touchdowns as the No. 2 option alongside A.J. Green. While Jones missed the 2014 season due to an ankle injury, he would compile another productive year with the Bengals in 2015 before joining the Lions ahead of the 2016 season.
|5 yr||5 yr||DET||69||67||478||289||4296||14.9||36||205||73||4.2||62.3||60.5%||9.0|
|3 yr||3 yr||CIN||43||21||215||134||1729||12.9||15||81||47||3.1||40.2||62.3%||8.0|
How would Marvin Jones fit with the Rams?
Seeing that Jones doesn’t possess the same speed he came into the league with, he may not be the every-down, vertical threat that the Rams need. With that being said, he is more than capable of putting pressure on the defense vertically. Just this past season, Jones averaged an aDOT of 12.7 yards, which was the 18th most among wide receivers who saw 50+ targets.
His aDOT of 12.7 yards was also 2.3 yards more than the highest aDOT on the Rams, with Reynolds logging an aDOT of 10.4 yards for Los Angeles in 2020. Provided that Stafford loves to push the ball down the field — and did so by targeting Jones on the Lions — Jones would be a welcomed addition to McVay’s offense.
What Jones lacks in speed nowadays — he’s still pretty quick — he more than makes up for it with his contested-catch ability and his ability to create after the catch. While Kenny Golladay was sidelined for 11 games for Detroit in 2020, Jones logged an impressive 72.7 percent contested catch rate (fifth-best among wide receivers).
Given his previous experience with Stafford, Jones wouldn’t need much time to get on the same page as the gunslinging signal-caller. Also, the idea of pairing Jones with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Van Jefferson is something that could cause McVay to get even younger (if that is even possible).
Marvin Jones Free agency outlook
Heading into free agency, there is a large group of talented wide receivers that could be playing elsewhere in 2021. Besides Jones, Golladay, Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, Will Fuller, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Corey Davis, Curtis Samuel, and even more are all set to hit free agency.
With the wide receiver market increasing exponentially in recent seasons, it’s fair to assume that a majority of these guys could garner lucrative contracts or get the franchise tag. As for Jones, being that he turns 31 years old on March 12, his price could be on the more affordable side, which bodes well for the Rams.
According to Spotrac’s Market Value Jones could be set to make $10.5 million annually. Though, with the lowered salary cap for teams this offseason, it remains to be seen if a team is willing to offer $10 million or more for Jones
Jones was born in Los Angeles, and he is reportedly among the players from the Lions who are interested in reuniting with Stafford. Being able to play for a contending team for the first time in his career — while playing near home — could be a breath of fresh air for the veteran wideout.
Even though he doesn’t have the accolades of the other wide receivers on the market, Jones should still see interest from other teams. But the pros of playing for the Rams could be enough to convince the heavily underrated wide receiver to sport horns on his helmet.