Skip to main content

Fantasy Impact: Marvin Jones Signs with Jaguars (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Mar 16, 2021

Marvin Jones is a veteran presence on a young Jaguars receiving corps

It’d been a slow day in free agency for most of Tuesday, but it appears some deals are starting to pop up closer to the evening. One of those signings was former Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones, who agreed to terms on a two-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars for $14.5 million with $9.2 million of it guaranteed.

LATE BREAKOUT, GETTING UP THERE IN AGE

Not many realize it because Jones broke out a few years into his career, but he just turned 31 years old last week. In wide receiver years, many would like to write him off as done, but he should have a few more useful years left, meaning this is likely his final contract. If you’d like to read up on what age wide receivers start to decline, I’ve done the research right here.

After playing behind A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu early in his career, Jones took the opportunity to leave in free agency, going to the Lions where he became a household name over the last five years, racking up an average of 859.2 yards and 7.2 touchdowns per season, and that includes him missing 11 games during that time. He’s shown to be a reliable presence all over the field, as he showcased an ability to get behind the defense in 2017 when he averaged 18.0 yards per reception, but then also showed he can win underneath as his speed diminished, catching 67 percent of his passes over the last two years while scoring 18 touchdowns in 29 games.

DECISION TO JOIN JACKSONVILLE

Knowing he has just a few years left, I fully expected Jones to leave the Lions franchise that’s clearly in rebuild mode. Did he just go to another team that’s going through a similar process? The Jaguars did have the No. 1 pick, after all. With that being said, the Jaguars had the most cap space heading into free agency, and also have four of the top 44 picks in the NFL Draft, including the most important one, Trevor Lawrence.

While a team has a quarterback under his rookie contract, it allows them to do things in free agency that most teams with franchise quarterbacks aren’t. The Jaguars and the entire NFL community is expecting Lawrence to be pro ready from day one. The defense may take some time to completely rebuild, but that’s not a detriment to Jones’ projection with the Jaguars, as them allowing points just amounts to more pass attempts.

There is something standing in Jones’ way of consistent production, however. Both D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault are young receivers who’ve already flashed top-24 upside in their young career. While Jones himself has just one 1,000-yard season under his belt, Chark already notched one of those in just his second NFL season with Gardner Minshew as his quarterback. Meanwhile, Shenault was able to snag 58 balls for 600 yards and five touchdowns his rookie season while dealing with Minshew, Jake Luton, and Mike Glennon.

ENOUGH TARGETS AVAILABLE?

Knowing that Chark and Shenault have already shown they can play in the NFL, is it okay to assume that Jones is likely No. 3 in the pecking order? Over the last five years, there have been just four teams who’ve had three different wide receivers hit 100-plus targets, so you’re talking about a 2.5 percent chance of that happening in Jacksonville with Chark, Shenault, and Jones. In fact, there were just nine teams who had more than one wide receiver hit 100 targets in 2020.

Now you add in a new head coach, new offensive coordinator, and rookie quarterback, and there’s a recipe for them not being willing to air the ball out as much as a team with a veteran coach and/or quarterback. It’s very likely that the Jaguars brought Jones in to be a veteran presence in a room full of young pass catchers. That doesn’t mean he won’t have value, but rather it’s more of a “team move” than a production one.

EARLY 2021 PREDICTION

While I have all the faith in the world that Trevor Lawrence is going to come into the NFL and be able to play at a high level immediately, we have to temper expectations because he’s still a rookie. We also have to understand that it’s been a long time since Jones has had to play with a quarterback not named Matthew Stafford, who was continually willing to throw the ball up in one-on-one situations. Jones is exceptional at winning contested catch situations (ranked sixth in the NFL with a 72.7 percent catch-rate), but we don’t know if Lawrence is going to be as aggressive as Stafford. On top of that, we don’t know how they’ll deploy Jones, though it would seem likely that Darrell Bevell will keep him in the role he played with the Lions last year (that’s the connection that likely brought Jones to Jacksonville) while the younger receivers get up to speed in the new offense. We should learn not to doubt players like Jones who’ve been producing in this league for a long time, but it’s not his time to shine along two younger receivers who’ll have just as much time with the new quarterback as he does. He should be a solid bench piece that can be flexed into lineups during bye weeks but could be an every-week starter if there’s an injury ahead of him. Considering he knows the offense, we could see him have more of an early-season impact than expected.

Way-Too-Early 2021 Projection: 79 targets, 53 receptions, 687 yards, 5 touchdowns


SubscribeApple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | SoundCloud | iHeartRadio

Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

Draft Prep, Dynasty, Featured, Featured Link, Free Agency, Impact, NFL, Player Profile, Player Profile, Stock Watch