Lions Open Door for Veteran Starter Returning

Josh Reynolds

Getty Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes left open the possibility of wide receiver Josh Reynolds returning in 2024.

The Detroit Lions have one significant remaining need on their roster at wide receiver that they haven’t addressed at all this offseason. But the team could fill that need by simply re-signing their starter from the 2023 season — Josh Reynolds.

Lions head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes both expressed at the annual league meeting in Orlando, Florida that the team is open to Reynolds returning for next season.

“Look, we’re still in contact with J-Rey,” Campbell said, via The Detroit News’ Justin Rogers. “I don’t think it’s a secret what we think about him as far as type of player he is; the unselfishness, the dirty work, the versatility. Look, I love J-Rey and that doesn’t mean something won’t get done.”

Holmes is on the same page with Campbell.

“[Reynolds is] one that was part of the original plans,” Holmes said, via SB Nation’s Pride of Detroit’s Jeremy Reisman. “Still having dialogue, we’ll just kind of see where that goes. But that’s really the only one that’s still out there who was in the original plans.”

Reynolds was second among Lions receivers with 40 catches, 608 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns during 2023. He also averaged 15.2 yards per reception.

Josh Reynolds Visited With Baltimore Ravens

Rogers described Reynolds’ market this offseason as “cold.” But the veteran wideout did have a visit with the Baltimore Ravens on March 22 according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

It’s unclear if the Ravens are still interested in Reynolds. But obviously, his visit didn’t result in a deal.

Reynolds joined the Lions during the 2021 season after the Tennessee Titans waived him in mid-November. The veteran receiver then stayed in Detroit on a 2-year, $6 million contract.

Spotrac projected Reynolds to be worth a little more than $14 million on a 2-year deal this offseason.

Reynolds began his career as a fourth-round pick for the Los Angeles Rams in 2017.  From 2018-20, he posted at least 325 receiving yards every season. In 2019, Reynolds recorded a career-best 15.5 yards per reception. Then in 2020, he had a career-high 52 catches and 618 receiving yards.

In 2023, he didn’t set any new career highs, but it was arguably his best overall season. Last season was the second time Reynolds registered at least 40 catches and 600-plus receiving yards. He also tied his career best in touchdowns.

Reynolds has played at least part of every season in his NFL career with quarterback Jared Goff.

Lions’ WR Plan for 2024 Season

At the beginning of free agency, the expectation was the Lions probably wouldn’t bring back Reynolds.

Former first-round pick Jameson Williams could experience a breakout season as Detroit’s No. 2 wideout this fall. The Lions also re-signed trade deadline acquisition Donovan Peoples-Jones.

That appeared to make Reynolds expendable.

But Reynolds returning would give the Lions even more receiving depth. It would also take away pressure from Williams needing to become a starter right at the start of 2024.

The Lions could add receiver depth early in the 2024 NFL draft. AtoZ Sports’ Mike Payton proposed the Lions trade up for LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. in the first round of the upcoming draft.

But that receiver won’t have the strong relationship that Reynolds already has with Goff. That relationship is a huge advantage for a team aiming to compete for a Super Bowl in 2024.

In 107 career games, Reynolds has posted 220 catches, 2,933 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns. In 38 games with Detroit, he’s recorded 97 receptions for 1,393 yards and 10 scores.

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