ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions have agreed to a five-year contract with free agent wide receiver Marvin Jones, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday night because the deal had not been announced. Jones caught 65 passes for 816 yards and four touchdowns last season for the Cincinnati Bengals.
After losing Calvin Johnson to retirement, the Lions were clearly in the market for a receiver they could put opposite Golden Tate. Jones, who turns 26 on Saturday, has been with the Bengals for four years, although he missed the whole 2014 season after foot and ankle injuries. He played in all 16 games last season.
The Lions did announce one deal Wednesday: They re-signed defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.
Jones was drafted in the fifth round out of California in 2012. He caught 18 passes as a rookie, then had 51 receptions for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns during the 2013 season.
At that point, Jones had become the main complement to receiver A.J. Green in Cincinnati, but he hurt his right ankle the following March, then broke his left foot during training camp. When that healed, he returned to practice and aggravated the ankle injury. He had surgery to remove bone chips and never played during the 2014 season.
He came back strong in 2015, however, starting 13 games and setting career highs in catches and yards receiving.
Although Johnson’s numbers dipped a bit the last couple years, he’ll still be difficult to replace for the Lions. Megatron caught 88 passes for 1,214 yards and nine TDs last season.
Detroit still has Tate (90 catches last season) and running back Theo Riddick (80), but its passing game will certainly look different this year. The Lions lost seven of their first eight games last season, but they rebounded to finish 7-9, and coach Jim Caldwell is back for his third year in charge.
Ngata returns to the Lions on a two-year deal. Detroit acquired him in a trade before last season, when the Lions lost Ndamukong Suh to free agency.
Ngata started all 14 games he played last season, but he was a regular on the injury report. He dealt with hamstring, shoulder, calf, neck and foot issues.
Prior to coming to the Lions, Ngata played nine seasons with Baltimore, making the Pro Bowl five times. He was drafted by the Ravens in the first round in 2006.