Detroit Lions to sign linebacker Christian Jones

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 03: Christian Jones
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 03: Christian Jones /

The Detroit Lions will sign linebacker Christian Jones to a two-year contract when free agency opens

The Detroit Lions went into the offseason missing two starters from their linebacker corp from 2017. Not surprisingly, the Lions have signed a pair of linebackers. Earlier in the day, Peter Schrager reported that the Lions were signing Devon Kennard formerly of the New York Giants. Adam Schefter followed that up with a report that the Lions were signing former Chicago Bear Christian Jones.

Jones is not a household name, but he was valued by knowledgeable Bears fans. He is a physical tackler, who is serviceable in zone coverage. The defining characteristic that Jones brings to the table is that he is not bad at anything. Unfortunately, he is also not particularly great at anything. That is a useful player to have on the roster.

Jones was the third inside linebacker for the Bears in 2017. Suspensions and injuries to starters put him on the field a lot last season. Jones ended the year with 90 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, and two passes defended.

Jones was a highly regarded prospect in 2014 before failing a drug test and falling completely out of the draft. He has played reasonably well for the Bears when pushed into service, despite their efforts to bring in free agents to supplant him.

Jones signing likely means the end of the line in Detroit for free agent Paul Worrilow. Jones will fill the Worrilow’s role as a sometimes starter and valuable special teams contributor. He will compete with Jalen Reeves-Maybin for playing time at one of the outside linebacker spots, and serve as the primary backup for Jarrad Davis at middle linebacker.

Next: Lions will sign Devon Kennard to a three year deal

Jones earned a 45.3 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2017. He rated number 56 in the Bleacher report NFL 1000 inside linebacker rankings. His AV rating from pro football reference was a seven. That is a slightly below average starter’s score for a guy that only started eleven games. More good things happened than bad in his part of the field during the 2017 season.