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Free agent profile: What would Josh Reynolds’ role look like in 2022?

An in-season addition that brought some life to the Lions’ offense, what would Reynolds’ role look like in 2022?

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Today, we take a look at wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Previous free agent profiles: Charles Harris, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tim Boyle, Alex Anzalone

Josh Reynolds

Expectations heading into 2021

After asking for his release from the Tennessee Titans, Reynolds found himself on the Detroit Lions after being claimed on waivers. He wanted more opportunities to see the field, and he was granted that wish, as the Lions were hoping to get anything from that position group.

Actual role in 2021

10 games (7 with Lions): 29 receptions, 396 yards, and two touchdowns.

PFF grade: 65.9 receiving grade (71st of 99 qualifying receivers)

Reynolds quickly developed some much needed rapport with his former Los Angeles Rams teammate, quarterback Jared Goff.

To put it plainly, prior to coach Dan Campbell taking over play calling duties and Reynolds arriving in Detroit, Goff was really struggling. And prior to the emergence of rookie receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, Reynolds seemed to be the only receiver who had any semblance of chemistry with Goff.

At 6-foot-3, Reynolds was often the lone downfield threat on the roster for the Lions, especially once tight end T.J. Hockenson was sidelined with an injury. He is someone who fits the prototypical “X” receiver build, and who wins 50/50 balls with some degree of regularity.

Outlook for 2022

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent

There will be several variables at play here, obviously including what moves general manager Brad Holmes makes in free agency as well the 2022 NFL draft.

Among others, what is Reynolds looking for in terms of compensation? A one-year “prove it” deal? If the Lions do in fact draft a receiver and sign another, is Reynolds going to be content with not getting the bulk share of the snaps on a weekly basis?

As of now, the Lions have three receivers under contract for 2022 (Amon-Ra St. Brown, Quintez Cephus, and Trinity Benson), with Tom Kennedy as an exclusive rights free agent.

That definitely leaves plenty of room for turnover, and if we are going by what receivers coach Antwaan Randle El is saying, the Lions may be interested in adding multiple high end talents to the wide receiver corps.

Do the Lions want Reynolds as their Week 1 starter on the outside? I’m not so sure about that. But he does have the aforementioned chemistry with Goff, and keeping a veteran around who is capable of contributing—and spot starting when needed—is important.

Despite the emergence of St. Brown, the Lions still need an infusion of talent at the position. A playmaker who can stretch the field would make opposing safeties think twice before flying towards the line of scrimmage to defend the run. But at the same time, if Reynolds does indeed want to be in Detroit—as he said back in December—and the price is right for both sides, there is plenty of value in having an established veteran in an otherwise young receivers room.


Should the Lions re-sign Josh Reynolds?

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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.