While we wait on Kenny Golladay, Will Fuller, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Curtis Samuel to sign, the Jaguars might have made the most underrated receiver signing of free agency by bringing in Marvin Jones on a two-year deal worth $14.5M.
Compared to what the Patriots just gave Nelson Agholor (two-years, $26M) and Kendrick Bourne (three-years, $22.5M), Jones’ deal looks like a value. Of course, Jones is now 31-years-old while Agholor turns 28 in May and Bourne is 25. Still, this is a nice veteran get for the Jaguars considering that Chris Conley, Keelan Cole, and Dede Westbrook are all free agents. That trio accounted for a whopping 151 targets (25% share) last year.
With Jones and D.J. Chark manning the starting boundary WR spots, I’d figure it will kick Laviska Shenault into the slot nearly full-time. A starting corps of Chark, Jones, and Shenault is quietly a great group of skill-sets for Trevor Lawrence to get started with.
I’m excited to see Shenault used as a mismatch chess piece in Urban Meyer and Darell Bevell’s attack. Last year, Shenault ran just 27% of his routes from the slot per PFF — but he was more efficient from the interior. Shenault averaged 1.72 receiving yards gained per route from the slot and 1.43 YPRR when he lined up out wide.
Marv will certainly be familiar with his role in this offense considering he just spent the last two seasons with Bevell in Detroit. Jones has long been an underrated vertical threat and his 46 receptions on targets 15 or more yards downfield is third-most among wide receivers over the last two years.
And as Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception process highlights, Jones still got open often despite being on the wrong side of 30 last year.
Chark was plagued by poor QB play last season, as only 68.5% of his targets were catchable per SIS. That was 6th-lowest rate among 62 qualified WRs. Looking a little deeper, just 53% of Chark’s targets beyond 10 yards were catchable.
Upgrading from Gardner Minshew, Jake Luton, and Mike Flennon will be a night and day difference.
According to SIS, Trevor Lawrence threw an on-target ball on 74% of his pass attempts of 10 or more yards last year at Clemson — which ranked third-best out of 68 qualifying QBs. For reference, that was better than Zack Wilson (72%) and Justin Fields (71%).
Marvin Jones was usually drafted in that 7th-9th round pocket over the last two years and I can’t imagine that he’ll go any earlier than that in drafts this spring and summer. I’ll be all over Jones as my WR4-5 if he goes in the double-digit rounds of drafts and I’m also fond of Chark (WR31) and Shenault’s (WR39) early ADP, too. With Lawrence coming, all three of the Jags’ wideouts are values in best-ball formats.