Lions Expected to Lose ‘Crucial Role’ Starter

Josh Reynolds

Getty Bleacher Report's Alex Ballentine projected Detroit Lions wide receiver Josh Reynolds as a fit with two other teams in NFL free agency.

The Detroit Lions will enter NFL free agency with some of the most cap space in the league. But the team could potentially need to replace several key starters, including wide receiver Josh Reynolds.

On February 19, Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine projected Reynolds to be a potential fit with the Baltimore Ravens and the Buffalo Bills.

“There aren’t many teams in the NFL that couldn’t use an extra playmaker in their receiving corps,” Ballentine wrote. “While a few teams will be on the hunt for a No. 1 option in free agency, most teams could at least use a player who is capable of making plays downfield.

“He’s the kind of signing that will probably be a minor blip in news cycle in the spring but will play a crucial role for a team contending for the playoffs.”

In 2023, Reynolds posted 40 receptions, 608 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns in 17 games, which included 13 starts. He was second among Lions wideouts in the three major receiving categories.

Reynolds also led the team with a 15.2 yards per catch average.

There is an argument for the Lions re-signing Reynolds. However, the team could consider finding a younger potential upgrade.

“From his perspective, I am sure returning for a fourth season in Detroit sounds enticing, but at the same time—Reynolds is now 28 years old and entering his eighth season in the NFL,” SB Nation’s Pride of Detroit’s Morgan Cannon wrote. “If he wanted to take a longer term deal with another team for more guaranteed money, nobody would blame him.”

Josh Reynolds Projected to Depart in NFL Free Agency

Lions writers have debated over the past few weeks whether or not the team should bring back Reynolds.’s All Lions’ Vito Chirco is in favor of Reynolds coming back to Detroit for 2024.

“He’d be a perfect piece to fill out the Lions’ wide receivers depth chart for the 2024 season,” wrote Chirco.

“Furthering that point, if I were Brad Holmes, I’d add a No. 2-caliber receiver this offseason, and go into the upcoming season with Jameson Williams as my No. 3 wideout and Reynolds as my No. 4.”

As the team’s No. 4 receiver, though, Reynolds could be pushed into an unfamiliar role. Depth receivers typically play on special teams, which Reynolds hasn’t done regularly since 2019.

He could also be more of a mentor as the team’s No. 4 receiver.

Jameson Williams appears ready for a bigger role in 2024. The Lions could draft another young receiver (Williams would be the team’s No. 2 in that scenario) or sign another wideout in free agency.

The latter seems unlikely, though, because even though the Lions have $48 million in cap space, they have to address both offensive guard spots, edge rusher and cornerback. The team also likely wants to offer contract extensions to quarterback Jared Goff, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and potentially other star players.

If the Lions re-sign Reynolds, and he’s the No. 4 receiver, then he may be mentoring both Williams and another cost-effective receiver, perhaps a rookie.

Projecting Next NFL Contract for Reynolds

Reynolds re-signed with the Lions two years ago on a very affordable 2-year, $6 million contract. While he will largely stay a cost-effective veteran receiving option, his price tag is expected to go up.

In fact, Spotrac projected his market value to be more than double what it was two years ago. Spotrac predicted Reynolds to sign a 2-year, $14.1 million deal this offseason.

The Lions have the cap space to make that deal possible. That will especially be the case if it’s front loaded as his last contract was.

But again, the question is whether the Lions will prioritize re-signing Reynolds ahead of adding offensive linemen and defensive players in free agency.

In seven NFL seasons, Reynolds has posted 220 receptions, 2,933 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns. He’s also averaged 13.3 yards per catch.

Furthermore, Reynolds and Goff have been teammates for at least part of every season since 2017.

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