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2019 Detroit Lions free agency preview: Wide receivers

Detroit will finally need to find a replacement for Golden Tate.

Detroit Lions v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions wide receiver corps has been constantly churning ever since Calvin Johnson Jr. retired after the 2015 season. Detroit will be in the market to add another starting-level receiver again this offseason. With so many needs on defense, the team may look to free agency to find the fix this March.

Here is our Lions wide receiver free agent preview:

Currently under contract

Marvin Jones Jr.

  • Signed through 2020
  • $9,183,333 cap hit in 2019

Kenny Golladay

  • Signed through 2020
  • $855,706 cap hit

Andy Jones

  • Signed through 2019
  • $645,000 cap hit

Brandon Powell

  • Signed through 2020
  • $574,000 cap hit

Brandon Reilly

  • Signed through 2020
  • $570,000 cap hit

Deontez Alexander

  • Signed through 2020
  • $495,000 cap hit

Chris Lacy

  • Signed through 2020
  • $495,000 cap hit

Pending free agents

TJ Jones

Level of need: 6/10

Detroit will need to add a receiver of some sort this offseason. As great as Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. can be, having the top two receivers on a team both being jump ball threats who can not separate hurt the Lions offense post-Tate last year.

The Lions will need a receiver to play out of the slot and someone who can create separation on their own—a speedy deep threat would also help take some attention off of Golladay and Jones Jr.

While Brandon Powell has shown some promise, it is hard to imagine any receiver on Detroit’s current roster has their spot locked outside of the top two guys.

Top free agents available

Golden Tate - The receiver that started 2018 in Detroit will be the biggest name on the free agent market this March. While he had a fairly quiet start to his Philadelphia Eagles career, Tate eventually became a contributor within the offense and played a role in the team’s Wild Card victory over the Chicago Bears. He may be expensive, though, and it is hard to imagine Detroit landing a player that they traded away because they did not want to give a long contract to him in the first place.

Adam Humphries - Humphries erupted as a great slot receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season and is now set to get his first big pay day on the open market. He would fit Detroit’s needs as a slot receiver and is a good route runner that can separate underneath. He may be expensive, though, and the Lions may not want to reach his price for a WR3.

Cole Beasley - Beasley will be an older, worse but cheaper version of Humphries. The receiver was a reliable target for both Tony Romo and Dak Prescott. He may be a cheap signing as well, but does not provide much upside beyond a steady 6-yard drag route every few plays.

Best fit

Devin Funchess - The Carolina Panthers chose to let Funchess walk in order to retain a geriatric Torrey Smith, and that might be a huge win for the Lions. The former Michigan Wolverine is a great route runner, has athleticism and upside. He may be cheaper than all three of the above names as well.

While he does have some struggles—and a poor game against the Lions last season will leave some with a sour taste in their mouth about him—he could be an ideal target for the team to take a flyer on.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.