Lions Sign LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin

Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin is headed back to the 313. After spending the first five years of his career in Detroit, Reeves-Maybin will return to the Lions after a one-year stint in Houston, according to his agent Brian McLaughlin’s Twitter account.

When the 28-year-old was last in Detroit, he left an up-and-down tenure with the team as a starter. He failed to continue that role in Houston, as he was mainly relegated to special teams duty with the Texans. Reeves-Maybin found himself playing fewer defensive snaps than starters Christian Kirksey and Christian Harris. After that, linebackers Kamu Grugier-Hill, Jake Hansen, Blake Cashman, and Garret Wallow all finished with more defensive playing time than Reeves-Maybin.

Reeves-Maybin was released to little surprise. The two-year, $7.5MM contract that he earned after his strong year with the Lions became much too cumbersome to the Texans for a special teamer. Reeves-Maybin was due for a $4.25MM cap hit in 2023, and Houston was willing to eat $2MM in dead money for the $2.25MM in cap savings it got from cutting him.

Reeves-Maybin should be excited about the move back up north, as should his new and former head coach Dan Campbell, who had this to say about Reeves-Maybin following his initial departure from Detroit, “I know he missed a couple of games here due to injury, but when he’s been out there on defense and on special teams, he just, he makes plays. He’s a football player, and that doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Both parties should be happy as they’re both receiving some benefit out of the reunion. Campbell was able to retain his top linebacker from 2022, Alex Anzalone, under a new three-year deal and returns rookie starter Malcolm Rodriguez, as well, but the team lost Chris Board in free agency to New England. Board played a similar role in Detroit to what Reeves-Maybin did in Houston, playing sparingly on defense but contributing largely on special teams. With Reeves-Maybin, Campbell has the hard-working, reliable linebacker on special teams that he lost in Board.

Reeves-Maybin benefits by moving back to the last team and head coach who gave him an extended starting opportunity. If Campbell’s last impression of Reeves-Maybin still holds true, Reeves-Maybin may find himself solidifying the third linebacker position behind Anzalone and Rodriguez.

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