Detroit Lions: Marvin Jones is a perfect fit for the San Francisco 49ers

(Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images) /

If the Detroit Lions are still contemplating trading receiver Marvin Jones, an opportunity just fell into their lap.

Before the NFL offseason activities started, the rumors began to swirl surrounding starting wide receiver Marvin Jones and the Detroit Lions likely shopping him as he enters the final year of his contract.  If Detroit’s general manager (GM) Bob Quinn still has that move on his agenda, a perfect destination, and return is likely available.

The San Francisco 49ers recently lost their young star playmaking receiver, Deebo Samuel, for an extended amount of time with a broken foot.  Samuel enjoyed a stellar rookie campaign with the 49ers in 2019 corralling 57 passes totaling 802 yards and accounting for three touchdowns.  The swiss-army knife-like talent also rushed for 159 yards and added three more touchdowns on the ground.

The 49ers also lost a depth receiver and return specialist, Richie James to a broken foot as well, but his timeline to return is much shorter than Samuel’s at this point.

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San Francisco decided to allow veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders walk in free agency. Sanders built up tremendous chemistry with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in a short time, they’ve hoped to replace his production with rookie Brandon Aiyuk and hoping to see second-year man Jalen Hurd make an impact.  The 49ers also like to use veteran pass-catcher Kendrick Bourne, particularly when trying to convert on third down.

The organization recently awarded head coach Kyle Shanahan with a lucrative six-year extension, essentially voiding the three years remaining on his current six-year agreement to make him one of the leagues’ highest-paid head coaches.

GM John Lynch had an eventful offseason thus far trading away a star interior defensive lineman, sending DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts after understanding the 49ers wouldn’t have the funds available to extend their former first-round pick.

It’s an organization that had been rumored to be shopping an excellent pass-rusher in Dee Ford just a year removed from signing him to a fruitful five-year $85.5-million deal during the NFL Draft hoping to acquire more draft capital.

Ford is a premier pass-rusher coming off of the edge, having recorded seven sacks last season for the 49ers in just 11 games.  The year prior, as a member of the Kansas City Cheifs, Ford recorded 15 sacks.

Dee Ford is just what the doctor ordered for the Detroit Lions defense.

The Detroit Lions defense was horrific in 2019.  The largest concern is their lack of pass-rush as a group.  2019 was a season to forget, but Quinn is trying to right the ship by adding Jamie Collins in free agency along with pass-rush specialist Julian Okwara via the NFL Draft.

I love Marvin Jones, but if the organization feels they won’t be able to retain his services after eventually rewarding the team’s top pass-catcher in Kenny Golladay, to an extension, losing Jones to free agency for nothing is not a viable option.

If the Detroit Lions are still considering trading Jones before the start of the season, why not move him for a pass-rusher like Ford who remains under contract for four more years.  Ford’s dead cap number in 2020 is a massive $20-million, so perhaps the 49ers have rethought the idea of moving him but losing a player like Samuel to injury may create an opening.

A foot injury to a receiver is worrisome, just think of A.J. Green.

In 2019 Ford played a total of 226 defensive snaps, 174 of which came as a pass-rusher.  His $17-million per season is a bit too rich for a player that comes off the field on first down, but he’s proven in the past to be a capable three-down edge-rusher.  In 2018 he played more than 1,000 defensive snaps and earned a spectacular 88.5 overall grade according to Pro Football Focus.  His pass-rush grade was a stellar 91.0 to go with a 70.5 tackling mark and 65.5 grade defending the run.

The 49ers still may be looking to shed future salary, and this is a beneficial way to do so.

Jones would be a perfect compliment for the 49ers receiving corps as he does his best work down the field.  Samuel is a ‘do-it-all’ talent, but most of his damage comes after the catch.  George Kittle is a lethal weapon at tight end working over the middle. Still, it’s an offense that will benefit from another reliable veteran pass-catcher working on the final year of his deal similar to Sanders last season. Jones is the perfect rental for the 49ers.

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It’s a move that benefits all parties involved, and it’s something the Detroit Lions should strongly consider.