Josh Reynolds admitted he was having a hard time coming up with the words to describe his emotions. On Wednesday, Reynolds signed a two-year deal with the Detroit Lions reportedly worth up to $12 million. On a call with media that afternoon, Reynolds took time to find the right description of how he was feeling, but he made one thing clear, without hesitation.
“For me, it was an easy decision,” Reynolds said.
Last year was a bit of a whirlwind for Reynolds. After a modest four-year career with the Los Angeles Rams, Reynolds went into free agency for the first time in his career, hoping to cash in and find an opportunity to showcase his talent. Unfortunately for him, due to the decreased salary cap and a deflated market for free agents, he only mustered a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Tennessee Titans.
Even worse, Reynolds would soon find himself buried on the depth chart of one of the most crowded wide receiver rooms in the NFL. Eventually, Reynolds asked for his release and was granted it by the team.
At the time, the Lions just so happened to have a huge need at wide receiver and the first priority on the waiver wire. Adding Reynolds, who had previously played with Jared Goff for four seasons in Los Angeles, was an easy decision for the Lions, and for Reynolds, it was an opportunity and a blessing.
“They came in with full trust in me and let me do my thing,” Reynolds said. “That just showed how much trust they had in me, and that was a big reason why I was also looking forward to getting this deal done with them.”
The results were almost instant. The Lions’, who had only put up 20 points once in the nine games before his arrival, tallied at least 29 in four of the last six games. Reynolds put up 70 yards and a touchdown in his second game, and helped provide Detroit with a vertical presence on offense. Jared Goff’s passing charts went from looking like this:
To looking like this:
Now Reynolds is hoping to take things to the next level. With new offensive coordinator Ben Johnson in place and a full offseason to not just learn the playbook, but understand it, Reynolds is hoping to produce more than the 306 yards he tallied in Detroit over seven games.
“It makes a big difference of understanding the play to be able to execute it as you want,” Reynolds said.
The Lions are likely to still very much be in the receiver market to help complement both Reynolds and Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit’s breakout playmaker who emerged down the stretch. There have been reports that they’re expected to be active in free agency, and their coaching staff has made it clear they want to draft one, too. Reynolds said he couldn’t judge where Detroit needs help in the receiver room, admitting he hasn’t even seen Quintez Cephus play, but he does know the importance of competition.
“We may have what we need, but depth is crucial,” Reynolds said. “If somebody goes down, you need somebody that’s going to come in and not miss a beat on offense. Wherever or however the coaches find that piece, I know they’re going to make the best decision for the team and we’re going to welcome him in with open arms.”
The football season is still six months away, but there will be offseason programs that start next month, and minicamp a few months away. Now that Reynolds has settled his future for 2022 without the stress of free agency, he wants to get out there and go.
“As soon as I got the news, I was ready to get back out here.”