Lions Rumors

North Notes: Steelers, Burnett, Lions

If you’ve missed the latest Thursday-night game, injuries have limited the Steelers. Pittsburgh lost JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner; the former suffered a concussion and the latter re-injured the AC joint that sidelined him for the past two games. Both are out for the rest of the Browns game, as are cornerback Artie Burns and wideout Diontae Johnson (due to a knee injury and a concussion, respectively). This is Smith-Schuster’s third known concussion since coming into the league. He suffered two as a rookie in 2017.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Both of the Browns‘ starting safeties are out of tonight’s game. Shortly before Damarious Randall was ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit, the Browns lost Morgan Burnett. The ex-Packers and Steelers defender suffered what the Browns fear is a significant Achilles injury, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). After being relegated to a part-time role in his one Pittsburgh season, Burnett has been a full-time starter in Cleveland.
  • The NFL is looking into the Lions‘ handling of Matthew Stafford‘s back injury, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com notes. Multiple Lions players were informed Saturday that Stafford would not play, but Detroit had called the quarterback a game-time decision. Stafford has been playing through back pain all season. The league requires teams to update their injury reports if it has been decided, prior to a team’s stadium arrival, a player will not play.
  • With Michael Pierce battling an injury, the Ravens bolstered their defensive tackle corps with two veteransDomata Peko and Justin Ellis.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/13/19

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Rams

  • Promoted from practice squad: T Chandler Brewer, DB Donte Deayon

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Matthew Stafford Has Fractured Bones In Back

NOV. 10: Stafford has fractured bones in his back, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. As such, doctors will not allow him to play in the team’s contest against the Bears on Sunday. Stafford’s streak of 136 consecutive starts will come to an end, and Schefter says he could miss up to three weeks.

NOV. 9: After some early-career injury issues, Matthew Stafford has been one of the NFL’s most durable players. The Lions quarterback has not missed a start since the 2010 season. That streak is suddenly in jeopardy.

On Detroit’s injury report with hip and back trouble, Stafford is shaping up as a true game-time decision. The Lions are concerned about their 11th-year passer’s availability for Sunday’s Bears game, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Stafford has appeared on the Lions’ injury report earlier this season but has taken every snap. Should Stafford be unable to go, the Lions are thin at backup quarterback. Jeff Driskel, who signed with the team earlier this season, joins rookie UDFA David Blough as the other quarterbacks on the Lions’ 53-man roster.

The Lions enter Sunday’s Chicago tilt at 3-4-1 and would certainly be major underdogs if Stafford is unable to go. Stafford did get in three limited practices this week. Considering his history, that’s a good sign for his availability for this NFC North matchup.

The 2009 No. 1 overall pick has started 136 straight games. He’s played well this season, rating seventh in Total QBR and having thrown 19 touchdown passes compared to five interceptions. Driskel last suited up for the Bengals in 2018, making five starts for an injured Andy Dalton. Blough was a multiyear starter at Purdue.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Move Miles Killebrew Back To S

  • Lions safety Miles Killebrew suffered a concussion during Thursday’s practice, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com notes. The Lions moved Killebrew to linebacker last year, but the trade of Quandre Diggs and Tracy Walker‘s knee injury prompted the team to shift Killebrew back to safety recently. UFA addition Tavon Wilson, third-round rookie Will Harris and rookie UDFA C.J. Moore are the Lions’ only healthy safeties. Killebrew and Walker are out for Sunday’s Bears tilt
  • The Lions’ two-year extension for Christian Jones features a short-term sacrifice for a 2020 payment. The deal reduces the linebacker’s 2019 salary from $2.45MM to the veteran minimum, which will be worth approximately $426K for the season’s remainder. In exchange, Jones will receive a $1.97MM signing bonus, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets. The through-2021 deal averages $2.92MM. Detroit tacked on a voidable 2022 year, in order to spread the bonus across three seasons instead of two.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/6/19

Today’s practice squad moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Signed: DE Chuck Harris

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

  • Signed: OL James Murray

Pittsburgh Steelers

Lions Give LB Christian Jones Two-Year Extension

The Lions are locking up one of their own. Detroit is giving linebacker Christian Jones a two-year contract extension, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Jones’ contract will now run through the 2021 season. Financial terms were not immediately disclosed, but we’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear those. Jones originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent back in 2014, and spent his first four years with the Bears. He jumped to the NFC North rival Lions before last season, and ended up starting all 16 games in Matt Patricia’s first year as coach. So far this season he has started all seven games for Detroit, racking up 28 tackles, two sacks, and four passes defended.

Jones signed a two-year, $6.35MM deal last offseason, and will presumably be getting a raise now. The Florida State product has been a solid inside linebacker this year while also contributing on special teams. The Lions are 3-3-1 and struggling to stay afloat in a highly competitive NFC North. They have a pivotal game against the Raiders coming on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Place RB Tra Carson On IR

Another change for the Lions’ running back group. The team’s starter in the first game following Kerryon Johnson‘s IR designation, Tra Carson will now join the team’s original 2019 starter on the Lions’ IR list.

The Lions sent Carson to IR, effectively ending the recent waiver claim’s season. Detroit promoted running back Paul Perkins to take Carson’s roster spot.

Carson worked through two limited practices this week with a hamstring injury, so this could lead to an injury settlement once the ex-Packer is healthy. Carson finished his Week 8 start with 12 carries for 34 yards in the Lions’ 31-26 win over the Giants.

A former Giant, Perkins came to Detroit as a waiver claim earlier this season. The Lions were able to pass the UCLA product through to their practice squad recently but will bring him back to their 53-man roster because of more backfield injury trouble. He took C.J. Anderson‘s roster spot. The Lions’ backfield now consists of sixth-round rookie Ty Johnson, ex-Seahawk J.D. McKissic and Perkins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/1/19

The latest from the workout circuit around the league:

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders