Lions WR Josh Reynolds Makes Final Free Agency Decision: Report

The Detroit Lions will not re-sign wide receiver Josh Reynolds after all.

Detroit Lions still want to re-sign WR Josh Reynolds - Pride Of Detroit

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on March 27 that Reynolds agreed to a 2-year deal with the Denver Broncos. The contract will be worth up to $14 million.

Reynolds signing with the Broncos comes just one day after Lions head coach Dan Campbell expressed that the team wanted Reynolds to stay in Detroit.

“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.”

In two and a half seasons with the Lions, Reynolds posted 97 catches for 1,393 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. During 2023, he finished second among Lions wideouts with 40 receptions, 608 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns.

WR Josh Reynolds Signing With Denver Broncos

Reynolds has played at least part of every season in his NFL career with quarterback Jared Goff. But unless the Lions somehow re-acquire Reynolds during 2024, he will be playing with completely new signal callers this fall.

He will head to Denver after arguably the best season of his NFL career. In 2023, Reynolds posted at least 40 catches and 600 yards for the first time since 2020. He also tied his career best in touchdowns, 5, which he hadn’t reached since 2018.

Furthermore, his 15.2 yards per catch average last season was the second-best mark of his career. The only one better was when he posted 15.5 yards per catch with 326 yards on only 21 receptions in 2019.

Reynolds will head to Denver to try and replace Jerry Jeudy. The Broncos traded Jeudy to the Cleveland Browns this offseason.

In Denver, Reynolds will work alongside fellow veteran receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick. Both of those wideouts have played for the Broncos since 2018. But Patrick missed all of the 2022 and 2023 seasons with a torn ACL and torn Achilles injuries.

Over seven NFL seasons, Reynolds has recorded 220 catches, 2,933 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns. He’s played with Goff his entire career except the first half of the 2021 season when he played five games for the Tennessee Titans.

How do the Lions Replace Reynolds?

In addition to Campbell, Lions general manager Brad Holmes conveyed a desire for Reynolds to return to Detroit. But’s Kory E. Woods argued that the team re-signing Donovan Peoples-Jones was a sign that the Lions were never that set on bringing back Reynolds.

“Personally, I felt the writing was on the wall once they inked DPJ to a very friendly deal,” wrote Woods on X (formerly Twitter).

The Lions acquired Peoples-Jones at the 2023 NFL trade deadline. Then, the Lions signed him to a 1-year contract worth as much as $2 million on March 16.

Peoples-Jones won’t replace Reynolds entirely. But the Lions also have higher expectations for third-year wideout Jameson Williams entering 2024.

“By the end of the year, we really felt like he started to come into his own,” Campbell said of Williams on February 27. “He’s going to be push to be a full-time starter now, and that’s what we’re looking for.”

With Reynolds officially off the market, it also becomes more realistic that the Lions target a receiver early in the 2024 NFL draft. On March 22, AtoZ Sports’ Mike Payton argued for Detroit to trade up in the first round to draft LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr.

Wide receiver will likely become an even more popular position for the Lions in NFL mock drafts going forward.

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