Comments made this week by former Cal standout Marvin Jones Jr. indicate he would like to play for a Super Bowl contender, which makes earlier reports that the Detroit Lions' free-agent wide receiver would consider joining the Los Angeles Rams more credible.
Jones said during a Thursday interview on SiriusXM NFL radio that “nothing’s off the table” regarding his choice of teams for the 2021 season, but he also noted that his desire to play for a Super Bowl contender will be part of his decision.
“At this point in my career, that’s what I want,” Jones said. “That is what I want, but at the same time, it’s not going to be . . . I’m not going to just straight sacrifice and not get what I’m worth just because I’ve put in my work to get where I’m at and it happened the first time and I did it, and I think I outplayed it the second time.”
Here is the interview:
Jones, who will turn 31 on March 12, is coming off perhaps his best season in his eight-year pro career. He had a career-high 76 receptions in 2020 for 978 yards and nine touchdowns, with both the yards and TDs being the second-best season totals of his career.
He became the focal point of Lions' passing game this past year with Kenny Golladay missing much of the season with injuries.
But Jones' desire to play for a title contenders seems to eliminate the possibility of re-signing with Lions, whose new head coach (Dan Campbell) has stated the Lions are in a rebuilding mode. The Lions proved that when they traded quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Rams in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, two first-round draft choices and a third-round pick.
Goff and Jones could give the Lions an all-Cal-alumni passing combination, but it seems unlikely Jones will stay with Detroit to make it happen. A Feb. 7 ESPN story suggested Jones might be interested in joining the Rams.
One of those players expected to be interested in joining Stafford in Los Angeles is Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., per sources. Jones is scheduled to be a free agent this winter; he grew up in Fontana, California, and later attended Cal. The Rams and Jones seem like a natural fit even before free agency begins March 17.
The addition of Stafford certainly makes the Rams look like a Super Bowl contender, although the Packers, Bills, Chiefs, Ravens and Buccaneers are among the other teams thinking Super Bowl in 2021. However, it's unclear whether any will pursue Jones.
As productive as he was in 2020, Jones has never been selected to a Pro Bowl and probably would have been the Lions' No. 2 receiver this past season if Golladay had remained healthy.
Plus there are a number of talented wide receivers who are free agents this year, including Golladay.
Golladay, Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, Will Fuller and JuJu Smith-Schuster are among the free-agent wideouts who may be more appealing than Jones, partly because they are younger. But Jones will still be attractive to teams, especially contenders, because of his experience and what might be a slightly lower price tag.
A CBS Sports story places Jones' market value at about $10.5 million. He signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Lions in 2016.
Jones played at Cal from 2008 through 2011, and he was a teammate of Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan during his first three college seasons.
Jordan paid tribute to his former Cal teammate with this tweet:
Cover photo of Marvin Jones Jr. by Tim Fuller, USA TODAY Sports
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