clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Browns unsurprisingly targeting Marvin Jones in NFL Free Agency

New, comments

Shocker: Hue Jackson is coming after Marvin Jones.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals will have their work cut out for them when it comes to keeping Marvin Jones in the Queen City.

Now entering his fifth NFL season, Jones is easily one of the best overall players hitting free agency this offseason, not to mention the best wide receiver in one of the thinnest group of pass-catching free agents in recent memory. Just about any team in the league could use Jones' skillset, and there are several clubs who have Jones at or near the top of their free agency big boards.

You can bet the Cleveland Browns will be among the teams pursuing Jones the hardest with former Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson now the head coach there. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports Jones is who the Browns are going after to become a big part of their offense.

The Browns will pursue Bengals receiver Marvin Jones in free agency, a league source told cleveland.com.

Jones, 25, played for Browns coach Hue Jackson in Cincinnati and Jackson would like to bring him to Cleveland as his No. 1 or No. 2 receiver.

Jackson also liked Bengals free agent receiver Mohamed Sanu, but Jones has more speed.

A reference point is the contract that No. 2 receiver Golden Tate signed last year with the Lions. It's a five-year deal worth $31 million, including $16 million guaranteed and an $8 million signing bonus.

At this point, Cleveland has a ton of cap space to work with, about $50 million based on the latest report from Over The Cap, which also has the Bengals at $38 million. If this turns into a bidding war, there's no question Cleveland has more money and incentive to overpay for Jones.

They'll likely be desperate to make a big-splash signing this offseason to keep their momentum going after hiring Jackson last month. Adding Jones appears to be something Jackson absolutely wants to do this offseason, and that combined with Cleveland needing a big-play receiver could help them out-work the Bengals to land Jones.

This past season, Jones caught a career-high 65 passes (on 103 targets) for 816 yards to go with four scores. Though the touchdowns were down, Jones was arguably more effective this season in helping to keep the offense moving before Tyler Eifert (13 scores) began getting the majority of red-zone targets.

The Bengals were ranked in the top 10 and even top five at times this past season in passing offense, but finished 15th after Andy Dalton missed the final month of the season. There's no question re-signing Jones is among the Bengals' top priorities this offseason, but as they've done in the past, won't drastically overpay to keep him.