clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Report: Lions won’t tender WR TJ Jones a restricted free agent offer

New, comments

The Lions could be moving on after Jones’ best career year.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Before the Detroit Lions can make a move of other team’s free agents, they still have to make a decision on several of their own players set to become free agents. Part of that process is deciding whether to tender their restricted free agents with an offer, essentially giving them cheap contracts with the protection of compensation should another team try to outbid them.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Lions will not be offering said tender to wide receiver TJ Jones.

The news comes as a mild surprise. Jones is coming off a breakout year for him, in which he hauled in 30 catches for 399 yards and a touchdown. Prior to 2017, he only 225 career receiving yards.

And the Lions could have even offered Jones a minimal original-round tender (sixth) that would not have cost the Lions much. For reference, last year an original-round tender was just a one-year, $1.8 million commitment. Last year, Jones’ cap number was less than half of that at $690,000.

However, the Lions are firmly set at wide receiver, and it’s possible the Lions just didn’t want to commit that much money to a player who will clearly not beat out Detroit’s top three pass catchers on the depth chart. Not only are the Lions planning on increasing Kenny Golladay’s role in 2018, but Jones is still recovering from shoulder surgery he underwent back in December.

But just because the Lions won’t tender Jones an offer doesn’t mean he’s not coming back. The Lions can still sign Jones to a normal contract just like any other free agent. That’s clearly what Lions fans want, as only three percent of you voted to let him walk in a poll from January.

If the Lions can’t come to a deal before the start of the league year on March 14, he will be a free agent, and that could open an opportunity for cheaper options like Jace Billingsley, Andy Jones or Bradley Marquez to step into the WR4 position.