Armonty Bryant

Jets Work Out DE Armonty Bryant

Former Lions defensive end Armonty Bryant worked out for the Jets on Wednesday, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Bryant was released by Detroit just before he was due to return from a four-game suspension. Armonty Bryant (vertical)

Bryant has been banned by the NFL for three times in the past year. The most recent suspension was for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Despite playing in just five games in 2016, Bryant managed to tally three sacks. In the previous season, he racked up 5.5 sacks across 14 games. He is not a world-beater, but he could be a viable option for the Jets as they look to fortify their edge rushing depth.

On Tuesday, the Jets auditioned former Bucs defensive end Jacquies Smith.

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Lions Release DE Armonty Bryant

The Lions have released defensive end Armonty Bryant, the club announced today. Bryant, who was coming off a four-game suspension, had to either be added to Detroit’s 53-man roster or released by today when his roster exemption expired.Armonty Bryant (vertical)

Bryant, who was banned for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, has been suspended three times in the past year. The Lions claimed Bryant off waivers from the Browns last October, and while he appeared in just five games in 2016, he did tally an impressive three sacks during his short campaign. In the best season of his four-year career, 2015, Bryant totaled 14 appearances and 5.5 sacks.

Detroit ranks sixth in defensive DVOA, but that’s largely because of the club’s secondary, as the Lions’ defensive line is just 17th in adjusted sack rate and 28th in adjusted line yards, per Football Outsiders. Anthony Zettel, a 2016 sixth-round pick, has given the Lions incredible production (four sacks) and currently ranks as the league’s No. 9 edge defender, per Pro Football FocusEzekiel Ansah and free agent addition Cornelius Washington have been serviceable, as well, meaning Detroit has more depth than originally thought.

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Lions Won’t Activate DE Armonty Bryant This Week

The Lions will not activate defensive end Armonty Bryant from suspension before Sunday’s Week 5 contest against the Giants, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Detroit holds a roster exemption on Bryant that expires on Monday, meaning it must either add him to the 53-man roster or release him by that time.Armonty Bryant (vertical)

Detroit ranks sixth in defensive DVOA, but that’s largely because of the club’s secondary, as the Lions’ defensive line is just 17th in adjusted sack rate and 28th in adjusted line yards, per Football Outsiders. Anthony Zettel, a 2016 sixth-round pick, has given the Lions incredible production (four sacks) and currently ranks as the league’s No. 9 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus. Ezekiel Ansah and free agent addition Cornelius Washington have been serviceable, as well, meaning Detroit has more depth than originally thought.

That’s not to say a Bryant return wouldn’t be welcomed, however. Kerry Hyder, who had been penciled in as a Detroit starter, is done for the year after tearing his Achilles in the preseason, while defensive tackle Khyri Thornton won’t come back from suspension until Week 7.

Bryant, who was banned for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, has been suspended three times in the past year. The Lions claimed Bryant off waivers from the Browns last October, and while he appeared in just five games in 2016, he did tally an impressive three sacks during his short campaign. In the best season of his four-year career, 2015, Bryant totaled 14 appearances and 5.5 sacks.

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Extra Points: Titans, Lions, Colts, Giants

As had been expected, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota will be a gametime decision in Week 5, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Mariota is day-to-day with a strained hamstring, and backup Matt Cassel will start against the Dolphins if Mariota is unable to play. Tennessee signed veteran signal-caller Brandon Weeden earlier this week, passing over other free agent options such as Colin Kaepernick.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Lions haven’t decided whether they’ll activate defensive Armonty Bryant — who is returning from a four-game suspension — before Sunday’s contest against the Panthers, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Detroit has a roster exemption for Bryant, and it must either add him to the 53-man roster or release by Monday. Given how thin they are along the defensive line (Kerry Hyder is out for the year, Khyri Thornton is still banned), Bryant seems likely to claim a roster spot by next week at the latest.
  • Before signing with the Bears’ practice squad on Friday, defensive end Howard Jones worked out for the Colts, tweets veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer. Jones, 27, had drawn a good deal of interest since being non-tendered by the Buccaneers earlier this year, as he’d also met with the Titans and Jets. Still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in November of 2016, Jones wasn’t a major contributor in eight games last season before going down, but he did manage five sacks in a rotational role for Tampa Bay in 2015.
  • Speaking of workouts, the Giants auditioned a large group of free agents today, reports Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. New York focused on front five as it worked out the following players: offensive linemen Kareem Are, Willie Beavers, Ethan Cooper, Kaleb Johnson, Cameron Jefferson, Storm Norton, Jeremiah Poutasi, Cyril Richardson, Kristjan Sokoli, and Zach Voytek, plus defensive tackle Greg Milhouse.
  • The Buccaneers will be without defensive end for two-to-four weeks Ryan Russell after he suffered a shoulder injury against the Patriots, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Russell, 25, has managed four tackles on 110 defensive snaps as a rotational end this season. If Tampa Bay is looking for depth, the club could potentially promote Channing Ward from its practice squad.

Lions Set 53-Man Roster

The Lions have met the NFL’s 53-man maximum requirement by making the following transactions:

Traded:

Released:

Waived:

Suspended:

Placed on non-football injury list:

Placed physically unable to perform list:

Armonty Bryant Gets Four-Game Suspension

The NFL has suspended Lions defensive end Armonty Bryant four games for violating its substance abuse policy, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).

Armonty Bryant (vertical)

This is the third suspension in the past year for Bryant, notes Birkett, who suggests that it’s time for the Lions to cut bait on the soon-to-be 27-year-old. Detroit re-upped Bryant back in March, but as a minimum salary benefit deal with a meager $40K signing bonus, escaping the contract would be easy for the club.

Bryant, whom the Lions claimed off waivers from the Browns last October, appeared in just five games in 2016 (all with Detroit), but he did tally an impressive three sacks during his short campaign. In the best season of his four-year career, 2015, Bryant totaled 14 appearances and 5.5 sacks.

With Bryant at least temporarily out of the picture, the Lions look even thinner at defensive end behind starters Ezekiel Ansah and Kerry Hyder. They’re currently set to enter the season with Cornelius Washington, Anthony Zettel and late-round rookies Jeremiah Ledbetter and Pat O’Connor among their reserves at the position, as Roster Resource shows.

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Lions Re-Sign Armonty Bryant

The Lions have re-signed defensive end Armonty Bryant, the club announced today. It’s a one-year, minimum salary benefit deal that comes with a $40K signing bonus, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.Armonty Bryant (vertical)

Detroit claimed Bryant off waivers from the Browns last October, but a knee injury and a four-game PED suspension ensured he only played in five games with the club. During that span, Bryant managed three sacks on just 104 defensive snaps. Still only 26 years old, Bryant will compete for time at defensive end on a Lions team that hasn’t yet re-signed 2016 starter Devin Taylor.

Under the terms of the minimum salary benefit, Bryant will only count for $655K on Detroit’s salary cap despite earning $855K.

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Lions Sign RB Joique Bell

The Lions announced that they have signed running back Joique Bell. At the same time, they have placed tight end Brandon Pettigrew on the physically unable to perform list and placed defensive end Armonty Bryant to injured reserve. Joique Bell (Vertical)

[RELATED: Lions Add CB Asa Jackson]

Bell has been on the open market since late October when the Bears released him. Bell, a sixth-year veteran who has spent the majority of his career with the NFC North rival Lions, appeared in four games for the Bears and totaled just three carries. Between his release from the Lions in February and his deal with Chicago, the 30-year-old sat on the open market for several months. Can he find success again with the Lions? That remains to be seen, but he won’t be counted on for as many carries this time around. He’ll now slot in as the team’s No. 4 RB behind Theo Riddick, Dwayne Washington, and Zach Zenner.

The Lions were hoping to get Brandon Pettigrew off of the PUP list and back on the field before the end of the season. Unfortunately, the big tight end couldn’t stay healthy. Detroit will have to make do without their best blocking TE for the rest of the month and – if they qualify – the playoffs.

Bryant was just activated after serving a three-game suspension. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury over the weekend. Bryant, 26, enjoyed something of a breakout season in 2015, racking up career-highs in sacks (5.5), tackles (40), and forced fumbles (two). In five games for Detroit this year, Bryant racked up five total tackles and three sacks.

In other Lions news, the team has plucked cornerback Asa Jackson from the Ravens.

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Lions Cut Justin Forsett, Activate Armonty Bryant

Justin Forsett‘s tenure with the Lions looks to be over after the team did not keep the veteran on its roster upon making multiple moves Saturday. The Lions cut Forsett and cornerback Johnthan Banks to make room for the activation of defensive end Armonty Bryant and wide receiver T.J. Jones, James Palmer of NFL.com reports (Twitter links).

This will send the 31-year-old Forsett to the waiver wire, where the ninth-year veteran could be viewed as a depth option for teams in need of ball-carriers. Prior to the trade deadline, Forsett’s vested-veteran status applied and he did not have to pass through waivers upon being released from the Ravens.

Forsett had not played in a game since October and has just 136 rushing yards (on 3.1 per carry) this season. This move doesn’t necessarily point to an Ameer Abdullah return, though, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter). Abdullah remains on IR, with Theo Riddick being the top backfield option.

The Lions claimed Banks on waivers from the Buccaneers last month and used the cornerback in two games. However, the former Bucs starter who saw his star fall in Tampa Bay could not make enough of a case to stay on the team. He, too, will be subject to the waiver process.

This marks Bryant’s second activation of the season — both by the Lions — with this latest transaction coming as a result of a three-game suspension the defensive end served. He served a four-game ban while a member of the Browns before Cleveland cut him, re-routing him to Detroit via waiver claim. Bryant has three sacks this season in four games as an off-the-bench cog for the first-place Lions.

T.J. Jones‘ promotion coincides with Marvin Jones‘ potential unavailability for Sunday’s game against the Saints. A thigh injury limited the Lions’ leading receiver in practice this week.

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NFC Notes: Cousins, 49ers, Bears, Lions

With a chance to collect upward of $58MM via the franchise tag over the next two offseasons, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has plenty of incentive not to sign a contract extension, argues Adam Schefter of ESPN. If the Redskins do tag Cousins the next two years, as they did this season, they won’t be able to again after the 2018 campaign. Assuming Cousins continues the pace he has set since midway through last season, he would then have the rare opportunity to hit the open market as an established starting QB. Cousins is reportedly seeking nearly $24MM per year on a long-term deal, and Schefter adds that the Redskins would have to include guarantees in excess of the aforementioned $58MM to lock him up.

More from the NFC:

  • Currently amid a career-best season, 49ers contract-year tight end Vance McDonald is making a strong case that he’s worth re-signing, writes Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. With 22 catches in nine games – all starts – the fourth-year man is on pace to easily eclipse the career-high 30 receptions he posted last season. McDonald has already found the end zone a personal-best four times, too, and is averaging a tremendous 17.4 yards per catch. “He’s one of our weapons on the offensive side of the ball and he runs better than most tight ends in this league,” head coach Chip Kelly said of McDonald, who’s on track to net a sizable raise over the roughly $800K salary he’s raking in this season.
  • The Bears entered this season needing to fully evaluate quarterback Jay Cutler, wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White, center Hroniss Grasu and cornerback Kyle Fuller, but they’re not going to emerge with clear answers on any of the quintet, opines John Mullin of CSNChicago.com. Three of those players – Cutler, White and Grasu – have seen the field either barely or not at all this year and won’t suit up again in 2016; Fuller has been out all season with a knee issue, though it appears the Bears will activate him from injured reserve soon; and the best player of the group, Jeffery, is a free agent-to-be who’s currently serving a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. Cutler, White, Grasu and Fuller are under team control through next season. However, it’s doubtful Cutler will return, as Mullin notes, and Fuller’s inability to play has been inopportune for a team that will have to decide on his fifth-year option for 2018 in the offseason. A breakout campaign from White could have made it easier for the Bears to wave goodbye to Jeffery, on whom they placed the franchise tag last offseason, but a fractured fibula limited White to just four appearances this year. The 2015 first-rounder didn’t see the field at all as a rookie because of a stress fracture in his leg.
  • When speaking Friday, Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah made it sound as though fellow DE Armonty Bryant will return from his three-game suspension Sunday in New Orleans. “We’re looking forward to what he’s going to do for us this week,” Ansah said (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). If Bryant is indeed coming back right away from his ban, Detroit will have to make a corresponding move to open up a roster spot for him.

Zach Links contributed to this post.