The Detroit Lions have lost their first free agent of 2021. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, former Lions punt returner/wide receiver Jamal Agnew has agreed to a three year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Per Garafolo, the deal maxes out at $21 million with “reachable” incentives included.
Agnew was a fifth-round pick from the Lions back in 2017, and saw immediate success as Detroit’s punt returner. He was named first-team All Pro in his rookie season after averaging leading the league with 15.4 yards per punt return and taking two punts to the house. He took a step back in the following two years, both as a defensive option at cornerback and as a returner. However in 2020, Agnew enjoyed a resurgence on special teams, taking over as the team’s kick returner as well, averaging 28.0 yards per kick return and 12.7 per punt return.
Though Agnew never caught on much with his role on offense, he certainly has a chance to with new head coach Urban Meyer. He’ll also stick with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who took the same job for the Jaguars this offseason.
The Lions will have to find themselves a new return specialist in 2021 plus a lot more depth at wide receiver. They’re expected to lose Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola in free agency, and they’ve only signed Tyrell Williams to help mitigate the damage thus far.
UPDATE: Agnew gave a classy goodbye on Twitter Monday night:
Thank you @Lions for giving a kid from a small, non-scholarship school an opportunity. Detroit will always be home to me. LOVE ❤️— Mal (@jamalagnew) March 15, 2021