It was no surprise to see the Detroit Lions pass on Odell Beckham Jr. once he hit waivers. The move would’ve made very little sense for both sides in the long run, even with Detroit getting the first crack at him. However, the Lions claimed a receiver off waivers on Wednesday. Josh Reynolds makes all the sense in the world. Reynolds will reunite with Jared Goff as Detroit looks to find answers on offense.
The Lions rank 29th in the NFL in points per game at just 16.9 per pop. Injuries to the offensive line, subpar play from Goff, and a lack of legitimate weapons at the wide receiver spot have all contributed to the mess. Detroit has scored more than 20 points on just one occasion this year, all the way back in Week 1 in their 41-33 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Reynolds won’t solve all the problems, but he’ll certainly help.
Reynolds and Goff were teammates on the Los Angeles Rams from 2017 through the 2020 season. His best season came last year when he had career highs in receptions (52) and yards (618) all while starting 13 games for LA. This isn’t a receiver hobbling along on the back nine of his career. Reynolds is only 26 years old and looking for one thing: opportunity. Detroit can provide what his last team couldn’t.
Reynolds signed a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans this past offseason. But he fell out of favor, even with A.J. Brown and Julio Jones both dealing with injuries. As a result, he asked for a release and was granted it. Now he’s with the Lions and has to be eager about the targets that could be coming his way with Detroit’s wide receiver room depleted.
Detroit has been dealing with brutal injuries at the wide receiver spot all year long. Tyrell Williams was expected to be the No. 1 wideout, but the Lions recently waived him after agreeing to an injury settlement over his early-season concussion.
In stepped Quintez Cephus, who performed well early on with his expanded role. It all came to a crashing halt after he suffered a broken collarbone, which will likely keep him on the sideline the rest of the way. Once Reynolds gets settled in, he should have plenty of chances as head coach Dan Campbell starts to get more involved with the offense.
Something needs to change with the Lions’ unit on that side of the ball. Campbell said, per mlive.com, that he will start to invest himself more with that group.
“Investment, you know? I just want to be able to meet with the quarterback more, talk with him. Just know that I feel like I have a handprint in it, I guess if you will. Investing a lot more time,” Campbell said. “Yeah, I mean, really the best way to say it is the fact that I’m just, time-wise, I’m much more involved or have been over these last couple of days since we got back. That would be the best way to say it right now.”
Outside of devoting more time to the offense, now he will have another weapon in Reynolds to try and filter in to help out Goff and a sputtering passing game. It’s one idea that could work, and Campbell is all ears.
“I’m like anybody else. I want to help us and if maybe I’ve got something I feel like I can help us. Everybody’s got pretty good ideas, but you never know when one idea may help. I’m trying to do my part if you will. But yeah, some of this is learning too. Being a head coach, but doing that as a well and just making the most of your time.”
Reynolds won’t be expected to come in and immediately blossom into a top-tier option. The hope for Detroit is that he develops into one of the go-to guys, a gig that currently features Kalif Raymond and rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown as the top wide receivers on the depth chart. For Reynolds, it’s a great marriage as well. He wanted targets with the Titans but was buried behind two stars in Brown and Jones. Even though they are short-handed, the Lions don’t just need bodies, they need legitimate producers. Reynolds can be that. It helps that he and Goff already have a rapport with one another.
While Reynolds and Goff look to pick up those good vibes where they left off in LA, the Lions’ quarterback is also finding a rhythm with Campbell focusing more on the offense.
“It’s been good. It’s been really good,” Goff said of the change. “He’s taken a bigger hand in it, absolutely, and wants to and I think he’s the head coach. He gets to make those decisions, obviously. We’re excited to have him be a little bit more a part of it.
“He’s got a background and some success on offense and has been around some really good players and coaches and has some great ideas himself.”
Scooping up Reynolds is a win-win. The Lions get a wide receiver who should be a solid contributor, and Reynolds breaks free from a spot in Tennessee where he was an afterthought. He certainly won’t be that in Detroit. For general manager Brad Holmes and the rest of the front office, this was a no-brainer move to try and spark an offense that desperately needs it.