After Lions gave him an opportunity, WR Josh Reynolds thrilled to call Detroit home
Allen Park — Josh Reynolds' first trip through free agency didn't go as planned. So instead of taking a second crack at testing his value on the open market, the veteran wide receiver recognized he found something special in Detroit and agreed to a two-year extension with Lions days before his contract was set to expire.
"It was an easy decision," Reynolds said. "As long as we were able to kind of get all the little details right, I was more than willing to come back. I just felt like this was the best move and, honestly, I love the decision I made. Just happy to be here.
"It feels like home, just even being back in the building," Reynolds continued. "I can't really give you the words I'm trying to get out right now, but I can just tell you, I'm more than happy to be here, man, and I'm ready for this season."
Reynolds took the long way to Detroit, just like he took the long way to the NFL, starting at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas, before transferring to Texas A&M. It was the support of his family, particularly mother Michelle, who picked up half of his tuition tab as a freshman, that helped Reynolds keep pursuing his dreams.
A fourth-round draft pick for the Rams in 2017, Reynolds averaged 20 receptions his first three seasons prior to breaking out with 52 catches and 618 yards in 2020. That netted him a one-year, $3 million contract from the Titans last offseason.
There are two driving factors for most NFL free agents: Money and opportunity. The nice thing about the latter is it gives you a chance to earn more of the former. That $3 million represented a nice raise from Reynolds' rookie contract, but the appeal of having a bigger role in Tennessee than he did in Los Angeles was the real draw.
Unfortunately, that opportunity dissipated a few months later, when the Titans traded for Julio Jones. And with just 13 targets through five games last year, Reynolds realized it wasn't going to work out with the Titans, so he requested his release.
The Lions, desperate for receiving help, claimed Reynolds off waivers. Here, he quickly rediscovered chemistry with quarterback Jared Goff, his former Los Angeles teammate, hauling in 16 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns in their first four games together in Detroit.
"It wasn't an opportunity that I got with the last team I was on," Reynolds said. "They came in with full trust in me and kind of let me do my thing. That just showed how much trust they had in me. That was a big reason why I was also looking forward to getting this deal done with them."
Even after re-signing Reynolds, the Lions intend to be in the market for additional upgrades at wide receiver. Still something of a newcomer, he didn't want to speculate on what type of player the team needed to add to the room, only saying whoever they might add will be welcomed with open arms.
But Reynolds knows well what a loaded receiving corps can do to a defense, having shared the field with Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods in Los Angeles.
"When you can't focus on double-teaming one person or even just two people, it makes it tough on them," Reynolds said. "You got to defend all angles of the field just with all the different misdirection stuff we had — I mean, it's very dangerous having depth like that. To be able to not have to worry about fall off or anything on offense. To be able to have that is crucial."