Browns Trade Starting WR to Lions for Lackluster Return

The Cleveland Browns have traded Donovan Peoples-Jones to the Detroit Lions.

Getty Images The Cleveland Browns have traded Donovan Peoples-Jones to the Detroit Lions.

The Cleveland Browns are sending starting wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones to the Detroit Lions.

Mary Kay Cabot of first reported that the Browns would be shipping Peoples-Jones to the Lions. The Browns are getting a sixth-round pick in return. Detroit announced the trade shortly after.

“We’re excited about the kid,” Lions GM Brad Holmes said shortly after the deal went through. “He’s had good production in the past. He’ll be a good fit here. He’s been a high-character kid. Obviously, he’s from Detroit, he’s a local kid, so I think he will be very, very happy. I just talked to him and he’s fired up to get the process going.”

Peoples-Jones joins a Lions wide receiver room that is headlined by Amon-Ra St. Brown. DPJ will likely be competing with Josh Reynolds and Jameson Williams for targets. Detroit was in need of a wide receiver after veteran pass-catcher Marvin Jones Jr. decided to step away from the NFL for personal reasons.

Donovan Peoples-Jones Fell Out of Mix With Browns

Peoples-Jones had a career year last season, catching 61 passes for 839 yards and three touchdowns. He was a great story as a former sixth-round pick out of Michigan but fell out of the mix this year with new additions to the Browns wide receiver corps. Peoples-Jones has just eight catches this season for 97 yards. He was targeted 18 times in seven games.

It’s not entirely on Peoples-Jones. The Browns have been in flux at the quarterback position due to Deshaun Watson’s injury and played the opening game in some very inclement weather.

While he wasn’t productive catching the ball, it opens up some snaps at wide receiver. Peoples-Jones played on 83% of the offensive snaps this season for the Browns, which was a team-high at the position. Peoples-Jones was also the team’s primary punt returner, a role that could now fall to Elijah Moore or new signing James Proche, per Zac Jackson of The Athletic.

Donovan Peoples-Jones in Final Year of Contract

Part of the reason the Browns could not fetch a solid return for Peoples-Jones is that he’s in the final year of his rookie contract. He did not want to make that a distraction heading into the year.

“I’m focused on the team and where the team goes. That’s my main focus,” Peoples-Jones said in July near the start of training camp. “I come out here, try to do my job, try to get better every day – listen to the coaches, and like I said, our main goal is to win games.”

The Browns are expected to replace Peoples-Jones’ production with rookie Cedric Tillman, who the Browns selected in the third round of this year’s draft. Tillman has not played a lot this season and has just one catch for 5 yards.

The Browns have Amari Cooper and Moore as their top two pass-catchers. Cooper has collected 30 catches for 478 yards and Moore has 48 for 256 yards. The Browns have scored just five passing touchdowns this season and only two of those have come from the wide receiver position.

Read More