Stay or Go: Wide Receiver Shakeup Possible Behind M. Jones and Tate

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Detroit May Have To Go Looking For Wide Receivers In The Off-Season


Welcome to another edition of “Stay or Go”, where I look at each position on the Lions roster, determine if they should stay or go, and give a list of possible replacements. I looked at the running back depth and tight end options recently, and now it’s time to look a position that could see some changes behind the two starters – wide receiver.

Detroit may need to start looking for some replacements in the receiving corps. Tate and Marvin Jones are for sure locks but with Boldin getting older and possibly retiring and Roberts possibly asking for too much money, Detroit may need to address the position.

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Marvin Jones

His first year in Detroit wasn’t bad. He didn’t play to anyone’s expectations, he even said that he didn’t have a good season. He ended up getting a career high in yards with 930 on 55 catches and four touchdowns. Those numbers aren’t bad, but they are lower than people were expecting from him coming in to replace Calvin Johnson. Detroit isn’t giving up on Jones after one year.

Decision: Stay

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Golden Tate

Another 1,000 yard season for Golden. On the 91 catches, he had 1,077 yards and four touchdowns. Tate seems to have taken over the number one wide receiver role this year. Jones came in and people figured he would be the number one, but while they both had over 100 targets, Tate was more productive and showed he is the new leader in the air. A contract extension is going to be the talk during the 2018 off-season.

Decision: Stay

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Anquan Boldin

Boldin had his worst year in the NFL this year. The fact that his worst year in yardage was still a good year for Detroit is actually a great thing. Boldin had 584 yards on 67 catches for eight touchdowns. Boldin isn’t the number one or two target anymore. He has hit the age of 36, his age of beating people deep and quickly getting by them is over. He is a solid number three wide receiver, he doesn’t need to get the most yards anymore. His production is on 3rd down plays and in the redzone. The big question is if he will retire – Boldin told MLive after the Seattle game “I haven’t sat down with my family yet, but there’s still a passion that runs in me for football.” If he can return to Detroit, it would be a big help.

Decision: Stay

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Andre Roberts

A player with multiple factors in his future. Roberts is a good punt returner, getting 246 yards on 20 returns and two touchdowns. Kickoff returns though, those are a different story. While he had 747 yards on 33 returns, he left the endzone many times on deep kickoffs. Is that his fault? It is a split one. The special teams coach should have implanted in his head not to return kicks that are inside the endzone, as 25 yards is better than trying to fight to the 25 yard line and getting stuffed at the 15. Even though it doesn’t seem that the coach has it locked in Roberts’ brain, he should also think about the situation before running it out.

Now, playing wide receiver, Roberts had 188 yards on 14 catches and a touchdown; not bad for a number four wide receiver. The thing is, Dwayne Washington seemed to do well on kick returns in the pre-season and Detroit could find someone smarter for that role.

Decision: Go

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TJ Jones

Jones was originally cut to begin the year and started the year on the practice squad. With Marvin Jones and Tate getting banged up, TJ was called up and didn’t do much. Just five catches for 93 yards, but he was the number five receiver, you can’t expect much from that. Jones was as high as the number three receiver in 2015, but that is as high as he will ever be on a depth chart. While I want him to stay, he will probably stay on the practice squad next season.

Decision: Stay

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Jace Billingsley

One of the many preseason darlings, Billingsley never saw the field when he got called up late in the 2016 season. Fans wanted him to be on the 53 man roster but he ended up on the practice squad. He will probably return in 2017 on the practice squad, but his production hasn’t intrigued me enough for him to get called up and there could be better options out there.

Decision: Go

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Possible Replacements

  • Kendall Wright
  • Vincent Jackson
  • Kamar Aiken
  • Brandon LaFell
  • Cordarrelle Patterson
  • Amara Darboh, Michigan
  • Jehu Chesson, Michigan
  • Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M
  • Chad Hansen, Cal
  • Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and share your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp
Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for myfantasysportstalk.com and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.