Lions Will Not Tender RFA Jerry Jacobs

Jerry Jacobs has gone from UDFA to a 29-start player through three seasons in Detroit. Despite the Lions moving their rebuild to the Super Bowl precipice, last year brought a downturn for the undrafted find.

The Lions benched Jacobs late in the season, and the young cornerback ended the year on IR. The team are not planning to tender Jacobs as a restricted free agent, according to’s Jeremy Fowler. This will send Jacobs to unrestricted free agency. This move comes several months after Jacobs was believed to be on the extension radar, but he struggled in his third NFL season.

It is not uncommon for teams to pass on an RFA tender only to circle back and re-sign the player, but given the way Jacobs’ season ended, it is notable the Lions are proceeding this way. It would cost the Lions only $2.99MM to use the low-end RFA tender on the Arkansas alum. They are instead prepared to send him to the UFA market.

Jacobs, 26, started 12 games for the Lions last season. Although he intercepted three passes, the team eventually parked the third-year defender and shifted him to a special teams role. Jacobs played one defensive snap after Dec. 10 and finished the season on IR, giving way to a Kindle VildorKhalil Dorsey rotation.

The Lions made a concerted effort to revamp their secondary last season, but the unit struggled frequently. Vildor and C.J. Gardner-Johnson are due for free agency as well, though the team did re-sign Emmanuel Moseley despite the former 49ers starter suffering his second ACL tear. It should still be expected Detroit will look for CB help in free agency.

With Moseley not ready to play in Week 1 of last season, the Lions turned back to Jacobs opposite free agency pickup Cameron Sutton. This was a familiar role for Jacobs, who had started 17 games between the 2021 and ’22 seasons. Pro Football Focus graded the 5-foot-11 cover man 91st among corners in 2023. Jacobs gave up six touchdowns as the closest defender in coverage last year; he was charged with just two TDs ceded in coverage from 2021-22.

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