Lions Rumors

Lions Sign LB Reggie Gilbert

Reggie Gilbert will have a chance to return to a regular-season role soon. The Lions signed the veteran pass rusher, according to the team.

A knee injury during Titans training camp last year sidetracked his run with the team, and a waived/injured transaction took place soon after. Gilbert caught on with the Cardinals and Jaguars but did not play in a game with either team.

The Titans traded for Gilbert just ahead of the 2019 season and used him as a spot starter that year. The outside linebacker played a role for a Titans team hurting for edge presences opposite Harold Landry, starting in five games. He recorded 2.5 sacks in 16 games with the Packers in 2018, working as a backup with the NFC North squad from 2017-18. Green Bay loaded up on outside ‘backers in the 2019 offseason, however, and sent Gilbert elsewhere.

Detroit re-signed Romeo Okwara in free agency this year but went most of last season without Trey Flowers on the field. Flowers is set to return, and the Lions have 2020 third-round pick Julian Okwara in the mix as well. The Lions are moving to a 3-4 defense this year; Gilbert’s game action has come exclusively for teams who have used that scheme. The 28-year-old defender will now vie for a Detroit depth role.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/4/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Waived: QB Kenji Bahar

Detroit Lions

Las Vegas Raiders

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/3/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Detroit Lions

Las Vegas Raiders

Washington Football Team

Latest On Lions, Todd Gurley

Todd Gurley left his Lions visit without a deal, but head coach Dan Campbell says the one-time superstar is still in consideration (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). Meanwhile, Campbell says the Lions’ interest in Gurley is not a reflection on any of the team’s current running backs. 

[RELATED: Swift Wants Lions To Sign Gurley]

Look, we have interest in Todd. We do. We’re talking with him and his agent. But just because we have interest in him that does not affect our feeling and our thoughts on both (D’Andre Swift) and (Jamaal Williams). It does not.”

We already know that Swift agrees with that assessment — he’s been vocal about his desire to play with Gurley, a fellow Georgia alum. And, even if the Lions add Gurley to the roster, they can’t necessarily count on his health, given his recent history.

Gurley was a two-time All-Pro for the Rams, racking up 40 all-purpose touchdowns between 2017 and 2018. But, due to knee trouble, he posted just 3.8 yards per tote and 6.7 yards per catch in 2019. Last year, he was held to just 3.5 yards per carry with the Falcons while adding 25 grabs for 164 yards.

Ultimately, Gurley profiles as a potential low-risk, high-reward signing for the Lions. And, if things don’t work out, Gurley still has several months to find his next NFL home.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Gurley, Lions, Packers

The Lions have shown some interest in signing two-time All-Pro running back Todd Gurley. It’s not clear if he’s still on the radar after their meeting last week, but Georgia alum D’Andre Swift would be happy to welcome him to Detroit’s backfield.

Knowledge. Experience,” Swift said when asked how he would benefit from playing with Gurley (via USA Today). “I’d be happy if he come here as well. I just want to compete with these guys. Just to have him in the building, that’d be good.”

Aside from their college connection, Gurley also has familiarity with the Lions’ new GM. Gurley’s best years in L.A. overlapped with Brad Holmes‘ Rams tenure, including 2,500+ rushing yards between 2017 and 2018. He’s been slowed by knee trouble ever since, but he could be an interesting partner for Swift now that Kerryon Johnson and Adrian Peterson are out of the picture.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari is ahead of schedule as he returns from last year’s season-ending ACL tear (via Matt Schneidman of The Athletic). “He’s really working hard. I think he came back and he’s in excellent shape. We’re just going to take it one day at a time,” head coach Matt LaFleur said. “I think he’s a little bit ahead of schedule but then again there’s a long way to the start of the season. We’ll see where he’s at when it comes to that time.” Pro Football Focus ranked Bakhtiari as the league’s No. 2 tackle last year before his December injury. So, regardless of which quarterback he’s protecting, the Packers are counting on his presence.
  • Speaking of which, Packers running back Aaron Jones says he didn’t chat with Aaron Rodgers about the QB’s plans before inking his extension (Twitter link via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette). “This is home,” Jones said. “This is where I love to be.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Waive DT John Atkins

John Atkins‘ stint with the Lions has come to an end. The team announced this evening (on Twitter) that they’ve waived the defensive tackle.

The former Georgia standout went undrafted in 2018, and after getting picked up by the Patriots, he was dumped at the end of the preseason. He ended up catching on with the Lions, and he spent much of his rookie campaign on Detroit’s practice squad.

He saw a much larger role in 2019, appearing in 12 games (six starts). He got into 36-percent of his team’s defensive snaps that season, finishing with 20 tackles. The six-foot-three, 320-pound lineman ended up sitting out the 2020 season due to COVID concerns.

Atkins’ spot on the roster seemed to be in risk following Detroit’s offseason moves. The team added Michael Brockers via trade and Nick Williams via a two-year pact, and they drafted a pair of defensive tackles in second-rounder Levi Onwuzurike and third-rounder Alim McNeill.

Lions Sign Brian Price

The Lions have signed Brian Price, per a club announcement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it’s likely a one-year deal for the veteran defensive lineman. 

Price went undrafted in 2016, largely because of red flags — including the time he threw an official to the ground. When he didn’t hear his name called, the University of Texas-San Antonio joined up with the Packers’ practice squad. They were pretty high on his ability, because midway through the year they nearly quadrupled his salary to prevent him from getting poached.

Since then, Price has made the rounds, spending time with the Cowboys, Raiders, Browns, Colts, and Jaguars before circling back to the Packers late last year. All in all, Price has 24 career appearances to his credit. Now, he’ll look to make the cut in Detroit, where he could take the place of Joel Heath following his season-ending ACL tear.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Place Joel Heath On IR

The Lions have placed defensive lineman Joel Heath on injured reserve, per a club announcement. This was the expected move after Heath suffered a torn ACL while working out at the Lions’ facility earlier this week.

Heath, a Michigan State product, went undrafted in 2016 and signed his first deal with the Texans. He went on to appear in 32 games for Houston, including 16 starts. Then, the Broncos claimed him towards the end of 2019 and re-upped him in 2020, but he didn’t see any action in Denver and opted-out of the 2020 season.

Heath hooked on with the Lions earlier this year with the hope that he would crack the defensive line rotation. Unfortunately, he suffered a freak injury midway through a bag drill on Wednesday. Now, he’ll focus on recovery with an eye on 2022.

The Lions’ revamped 3-4 scheme will feature newcomer Michael Brockers plus Day 2 rookie DLs Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill. Meanwhile, Romeo Okwara and Trey Flowers will be shifted to outside linebacker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Meet With Todd Gurley

The Lions are set to meet with Todd Gurley today (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). If signed, Gurley will reunite with old pal Jared Goff and pair with fellow Georgia alum D’Andre Swift

Gurley was a two-time All-Pro while he was with Goff in Los Angeles. As the anchor of the Rams’ ground game, Gurley managed 40 all-purpose touchdowns between ’17 and ’18 while averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Unfortunately, his knee injury hampered him in 2018 as he averaged just 3.8 yards per tote and just 6.7 yards per catch.

Gurley hooked on with the Falcons in April, following his Rams release. The deal wasn’t finalized for a while though — the pandemic prevented Gurley from taking his physical until June. Fortunately, he was cleared. Gurley went on to start in all 15 of his games for the Falcons, though he was held to just 3.5 yards per tote with 25 grabs for 164 yards — far below his best work.

At this stage, the Lions aren’t expecting the 2017 or 2018 iteration of Gurley. But, if he’s healthy, he could be a solid and low-cost addition to their backfield.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions DL Joel Heath Tears ACL

Joel Heath opted out of the 2020 season, and the veteran defensive lineman will now be unable to play in 2021. Heath suffered a torn ACL while working out at the Lions’ facility Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Heath went down during an individual period at Lions OTAs, which began Monday. The Lions signed Heath in February, shortly after the Broncos released him. He signed a one-year, $990K contract.

The Broncos claimed the former Texans UDFA off waivers late in the 2019 season and re-signed him in 2020. He did not end up seeing any action with Denver, however. Heath, 27, became a Texans starter early in his career, despite his low-level NFL entrance. Over his first two seasons, Heath started 15 games with Houston. He has become a backup in the years since.

As a result of the opt-out and this injury, Heath will face longer odds in a potential bid to make a roster in 2022.