Among the many issues the Detroit Lions are facing this season, a glaring one is their depth at wide receiver. Compared to the other 31 teams in the NFL, it’s pretty bad. And the problems for the group began before this season’s start and continued over its first few weeks.
The Lions signed Breshad Perriman in March with expectations he’d be a second or third option at wideout. And he didn’t even make the 53-man roster. The Lions released Perriman on August 30th after an underwhelming preseason.
Then there’s Tyrell Williams.
Williams, whom the Lions also signed in the offseason, was the projected No. 1 option for Jared Goff this season. Well, besides, T.J. Hockenson, anyway.
Per 16 games, Williams averages 45 receptions for 730 and five touchdowns. Unfortunately for himself and the Lions, he’s been out of action with a brain injury since Week 1. And when Dan Campbell last spoke on his status, it didn’t sound good.
Last but not least is Quintez Cephus.
Lions fans had high hopes for Cephus after his rookie showing. Last season he caught 20 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns. The expectation was he would compete for a significant role in the Lions’ offense.
After Williams’ injury, Cephus received his shot. However in the game he received his shot, he had a setback. Cephus broke his collarbone in Week 2 vs. the Packers. The Lions placed him on injured reserve on October 12th.
With all these factors in play, the idea of the Lions adding the recently waived Desean Jackson seems enticing to Lions fans. Even more enticing, for some, is the idea of acquiring Odell Beckham Jr. from the Browns. After all, reports are he’s on his best behavior. And that’s even with him and Browns reportedly nearing a split.
The idea of adding both sounds great on paper (or a game of Madden), but here are three reasons why it lacks logic for all parties involved.
Reason 1: Adding DeSean Jackson or Odell Beckham Jr. doesn’t guarantee a win for the Detroit Lions.
By the numbers, DeSean Jackson wasn’t having a bad season, especially for a 35-year-old. He has eight receptions for 221 yards and one touchdown. It’s not the D.Jax of old, but it’s still serviceable.
OBJ’s case is a tad bit different.
Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t old. He’s only 29. And OBJ still has something left in the tank, even after coming off an injury. In six games this year, he has 17 receptions for 232 yards and no touchdowns.
Now both D. Jax and OBJ’s numbers are nothing to write home about. However, there is a reason for their lack of production. The Rams phased Jackson out of the offense. The emergence of Van Jefferson made D. Jax expendable. And for OBJ, he and Baker Mayfield aren’t on the same page. The chemistry, for whatever reason, isn’t there.
If either receiver landed in Detroit, they would still face chemistry issues. The Lions’ offense has been a cluster “you know what” the entire season. It’s been so bad that Anthony Lynn’s job as offensive coordinator is something the media is beginning to call into question.
With how badly the Lions’ offense is playing, it probably takes all nine games before either receiver builds a rapport with Jared Goff. There are no signs that either could help this team, in particular, earn their first win. Along with that, the Lions don’t need either receiver to get a win. The Lions need to minimize their mistakes, such as boneheaded penalties and ill-advised turnovers.
Reason 2: The Lions aren’t competing for anything. So why would Detroit want them? And why would they want to come to Detroit?
As previously stated, DeSean Jackson is 35-years-old. Because of his age, it’s safe to surmise he signed with the Rams in the offseason to compete for a Super Bowl. After all, once the Rams acquired Matthew Stafford from the Lions, they became instant contenders.
In my opinion, it doesn’t seem logical for Jackson to go from Super Bowl contender to a winless Detroit Lions team to continue his career. If the Lions claimed him off waivers, he wouldn’t be happy here. And when he clears waivers, why would he come to Detroit when he can potentially join another contender? The Chiefs, Packers, and Bills are three teams I can see calling Jackson to gauge his interest.
For OBJ, it’s the same thing. Why would Odell Beckham Jr. join the Detroit Lions? Since the Browns didn’t trade him by Tuesday’s deadline, it appears both parties are headed to a split, granting OBJ his release. At that moment, he’ll be able to sign with anyone he chooses for the season’s remainder.
What does it benefit OBJ to become a Detroit Lion? I’ll you what the benefit is––there isn’t one. And in Detroit’s case, if they’re truly trying to become younger, adding Jackson contradicts that. Along with that, with Dan Campbell trying to change a culture in Detroit, Beckham Jr. is a guy to avoid, even though reports are he’s handling the Browns’ drama well.
Reason 3: Jared Goff is still under center in Detroit.
Jared Goff is having a horrible season as the Lions quarterback. And that’s putting in kindly.
In five of the past six games, he’s failed to throw a first-half touchdown. And during Sunday’s 44-6 blowout by the Eagles, he didn’t register one. He’s as much to blame as Anthony Lynn for the Lions’ offense being colder than an Alpha on December 4th (NPHC reference, Google it).
He’s averaging 6.5 yards per throw and slightly under 250 yards a game. The entire season, Goff has been Checkdown Charlie. He’s demonstrated the inability to go deep and move the Lions’ offense downfield efficiently.
DeSean Jackson and Odell Beckham Jr. know the Lions are winless. And they know who and what Jared Goff is all about. After being in situations where the quarterbacks are phasing them out of the offense, why would they join a team with a quarterback in Goff, who’s showcasing he couldn’t do anything with them?
If you were in either of their shoes, is being a Detroit Lion, at this moment, appealing? Unless you’re drinking spiked Honolulu Blue Kool-Aid, the answer is no.
The Detroit Lions need to address their options at wideout. I believe any sane person would agree on that. However, for this season and all the factors listed, DeSean Jackson or Odell Beckham Jr. aren’t logical options.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.