LIONS TRADE: Lions reportedly lose veteran WR they hoped to re…

Lions reportedly lose veteran WR they hoped to re-sign to Denver Broncos.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Josh Reynolds (8) celebrates a touchdown reception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter of the NFL divisional round playoff game at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024.

ALLEN PARK — Brad Holmes said he hit every target he wanted to sign for the Detroit Lions except for one over the last couple of weeks of NFL free agency.

And that one just became the one who got away, with multiple national reports saying Josh Reynolds has agreed to a two-year deal worth as much as $14 million with the Denver Broncos. The veteran receiver joined the Lions in middle of the first season with Holmes and Dan Campbell running the show in 2021.

Reynolds re-joined Jared Goff with the Lions, and the pair was at the heart of the rebuild over the last two-plus years. While Reynolds had two tough drops in the NFC title game a couple of months ago, he was a key piece here.

The 29-year-old had 40 catches for 608 yards and five touchdowns for one of the league’s best offenses in 2023. Reynolds caught 97 passes for 1,393 yards and 10 touchdowns in 38 games in Detroit. The Lions wanted Reynolds back, and for good reason, with a lack of an outside, vertical wide receiver. They re-signed Donovan Peoples-Jones, then watched Reynolds visit the Baltimore Ravens before signing with Sean Payton’s new-look Broncos.

“We’re still not done yet, in terms of targets that are still out there in free agency,” Holmes, the Lions general manager, told local reporters at the league’s annual meetings. “Josh Reynolds, he’s one that was part of the original plans. Still having dialogue, we’ll just kind of see where that goes. But that’s really the only one that’s still out there who was in the original plans.”

The Lions have Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams, Kalif Raymond, Antoine Green and Peoples-Jones as their top returning wide receiver options. In recent mock drafts, they’ve become a popular first-round destination for wideouts, and that’s unlikely to change after Reynolds’ departure.

St. Brown is staring down a massive contract extension. He’s one of the best all-around, not to mention consistent wideouts in the league. Williams has elite speed, and the Lions hope for big things via the former first-rounder in Year 3.

But that leaves a need for a bigger-bodied, vertical wide receiver in Ben Johnson’s offense. Peoples-Jones has the size and speed to try and compete for those reps. But the production just hasn’t been there since an impressive 2022.

The Detroit native came over at the most recent trade deadline from the Cleveland Browns. He caught only five passes for 58 yards, with some of those coming on clutch third- and fourth-down looks.Reynolds now joins an organization without a starting quarterback in Denver. The Broncos also just traded Jerry Jeudy, so it’s Reynolds, Courtland Sutton, Marvin Mims, Tim Patrick and Lil’Jordan Humphrey fighting for those top spots.

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