The already busy offseason for the Detroit Lions continues to be productive. For this free agency period, the Lions rank in the top-five in the amount spent on contracts. This week, Jermaine Kearse became the 15th signee as the Lions inked him to a one-year, $1.35 million deal.
The Detroit Lions strengthened their receiving core by signing a veteran free agent, Jermaine Kearse. He will join returning receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones as well as the new arrival, Danny Amendola. This is a strong signing at a reasonable price. The 29-year-old wideout will make $1.35 million, which is below the average cost of players at his position and a step lower than what he made with the Seahawks and the Jets.
While he is still young, Kearse does have seven years of experience. Starting in 81 of his 111 games, Kearse has caught at least 30 receptions, 300 yards, and one touchdown in every season as a starter.
While these numbers are not exceptional on their own, he has done so as a secondary target. He was an efficient backup to Doug Baldwin in Seattle and a part of the Super Bowl-winning 2013 team. Should the Lions return to the playoffs, Kearse will add both postseason experience and the production. All the while, Kearse has managed to stay mostly injury-free throughout his career.
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Together, Kearse and Amendola are interesting cases. Neither were drafted, yet both have carved out solid careers. They both spent a lot of time in the AFC East, Kearse with the Jets and Amendola with the Patriots and the Dolphins.
They also have similar play styles, so there may be some overlap in their usage. The two will probably compete for the third wide receiver position. While Amendola tends to catch more passes thrown his way, Kearse manages to get more yardage out of his receptions.
Interestingly, Kearse has never quite been paired with a true passing quarterback. In Seattle, Russell Wilson is more of a running quarterback, and the majority of targets went to Baldwin and Jimmy Graham anyway.
The Jets did not have a reliable quarterback situation while Kearse was there, and neither Josh McCown nor Sam Darnold was able to exploit Kearse’s talents to the fullest potential. In Detroit, Matthew Stafford makes his receivers better. Expect to see a rise in his numbers this season.
Jermaine Kearse is a positive addition for an improving Detroit Lions offense. The more effective targets, the better in Matthew Stafford and Matt Patricia’s pass-heavy scheme. Kearse is a low-risk, consistent receiver, who will expand Detroit’s depth of pass catchers, along with having the ability to stretch the field.