PFF projects the Browns to sign free agent WR Marvin Jones

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Jeff Risdon
·2 min read
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NFL free agency kicks off in a month, but it’s never too early to speculate on some possible Cleveland Browns targets. Pro Football Focus got the ball rolling in their listing of the top 150 free agents with a bold prediction that the Browns would chase after Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones.

PFF’s prediction,

Browns sign Jones for three years, $27 million ($9M APY): $16.5 million total guaranteed, $12.5 million fully guaranteed at signing.”

Jones, who will be 31 in March, caught 76 passes for 978 yards and nine TDs in 2020. He has exactly nine TD receptions in three of the last four seasons in Detroit, and Jones led the NFL in yards per reception in 2017 at 18.0.

PFF’s description of Jones is a good one. I’ve covered Jones with the Lions and he’s a very capable No. 2 receiver, a downfield threat despite not being a speedster and a difficult guy to tackle after the catch.

Jones is still a capable Z wide receiver on the outside opposite a true X, but he has also seen his snaps from the slot increase steadily each season, which could perhaps make him more attractive to potential suitors if there are concerns about his game not aging well.

Jones has solid hands (only dropped more than four passes once in a season) and some juice after the catch. He should still be a capable addition to a lot of receiving corps in the league. He isn’t a true mismatch weapon or a No. 1 receiver, but he can still provide a lot of value.

The projected salary here is an issue, however. If the Browns are still paying Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. over $30 million combined in 2021 as they are due now, adding Jones and pushing the tally on three wide receivers over $40 million just doesn’t seem either prudent or likely.

Now if the Browns can restructure Landry’s contract, or get Jones to construct a very favorable contract for the team’s salary cap, signing Jones would be a significant upgrade over pending free agent Rashard Higgins.