The night before free agency began, the Detroit Lions were mentioned as one of the teams with "heavy interest" in wide receiver James Jones. This wasn't exactly surprising news considering their need for help at wide receiver, especially when you factor in the fact that Jones played against the Lions so many times over the years as a member of the Green Bay Packers.
Things never materialized between Jones and the Lions, though. Before free agency even started the next day, the Lions were already believed to be out of the mix for Jones. Fittingly, the Lions were connected to Golden Tate right around the same time, and Tate ended up signing with Detroit a day later. Where did Jones end up? He just agreed to a three-year deal with the Oakland Raiders, according to Adam Schefter.
With the Lions landing Tate, what happened with Jones was really irrelevant to them. I suppose it's relevant in the sense that he's out of the NFC North, but at this point the Lions are likely planning to use the draft rather than free agency to add more talent to the wide receiver position. Plus, they weren't even in the mix for Jones anyway by all accounts, so this news is much more impactful for a team like the Carolina Panthers, which are now left with the following free-agent options at wide receiver:
Free agent WRs left: 1. Santonio Holmes 2. Sidney Rice 3. Kenny Britt 4. Miles Austin 5. Damian Williams 6. Jerricho Cotchery 7. Lance Moore— Evan Silva (@evansilva) March 17, 2014
The Panthers' top two wide receivers, by the way, are currently Tavarres King and Marvin McNutt. The Lions' top two, by comparison, includes Calvin Johnson and Tate, and Detroit should be able to find a solid No. 3 at some point in the draft. Wide receiver may have been the Lions' top need coming into free agency, but as the Panthers have shown us, things definitely could have been worse at that position.