Eric Ebron

Lions Mulling Eric Ebron’s Fifth-Year Option

The Lions will have to make a decision on tight end Eric Ebron‘s fifth-year option by May 3, but their front office has “talked very little about” it, general manager Bob Quinn said Thursday to reporters, including Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. Quinn added that team brass is undecided on Ebron’s option and will “spend the next two weeks discussing” it.

Eric Ebron

Exercising Ebron’s option would give the Lions control over him in 2018 for around $8.5MM, which would be guaranteed for injury only. But Ebron could become superfluous to the Lions beyond the upcoming season if they spend a high pick in this year’s draft on a tight end, which Meinke notes is a possibility. Ebron himself was a high pick not long ago, in 2014, when the Lions selected the ex-North Carolina standout 10th overall.

The 24-year-old Ebron has been fairly prolific during his career, having progressed from 25 catches as a rookie to 47 in 2015 to 61 last season. Only nine tight ends finished 2016 with more receptions than Ebron, who also posted a career-high yards-per-catch average (11.7) and logged a personal-best 13 starts. However, he finished last among TEs in drops (seven) and caught just one touchdown (four fewer than his 2015 total).

Ebron will make $3.9MM in 2017, potentially his final season in Detroit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Munnerlyn, Lions, Hyde

Captain Munnerlyn will be 29 before the 2017 season begins, but the veteran slot cornerback does not have a medium-length contract on his mind. The Vikings free agent is seeking a long-term pact and a raise.

I’m looking for a four- or five-year deal; just somewhere I can finish my career at, and go from there,” Munnerlyn said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I don’t want a one- or two-year deal. I definitely don’t want to do that. I want to get something longer, so I can settle in and see if I want to make [Minnesota] my home.

Munnerlyn finished a three-year, $12.2MM Vikings deal and received more slot reps than almost any corner in football during that span. Using the cap’s increase to $167MM behind the reasoning, Munnerlyn is targeting a raise from the $4.2MM base salary he earned in 2016. Two of his agents were scheduled to meet with Vikings executive vice president Rob Brzezinski on Friday. Munnerlyn joins the likes of A.J. Bouye, Stephon Gilmore, Morris Claiborne and others on the cornerback market.

Here’s more from the NFC North on Combine Saturday.

  • The Lions are open to discussing an extension with Eric Ebron, but Bob Quinn said (via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com) that conversation won’t occur for months. Detroit has Ebron’s fifth-year option decision due in early May. Ebron is due $3.9MM in 2017, and Meinke notes Quinn’s recent comments on the tight end suggest he is genuinely interested in keeping him in the Motor City long-term. Ebron could see a bigger role in ’17 if the Lions don’t bring back Anquan Boldin. The 23-year-old tight end set career highs in receptions (61) and yards (711) last season despite playing in just 13 games.
  • Recipient of an extension that hasn’t benefited the Lions, DeAndre Levy has yet to be approached about a pay cut or restructure, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com notes. This course of action may be coming this offseason after Levy’s last two years of work — just 21 tackles and six games played since signing that four-year, $33.74MM extension — but it hasn’t yet. And Quinn expects Levy to return in 2017, although that decision isn’t final yet. As a result of Levy’s injury issues, linebacker is a glaring need for the Lions going into free agency.
  • Packers contract negotiator Russ Ball met with Micah Hyde‘s agent on Friday at the Combine, ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky reports. ESPN confirmed Ball met with the agents of Packers UFAs Eddie Lacy, Jared Cook, T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter. However, Lang has already said he won’t sign before free agency commences. Green Bay isn’t likely to retain Tretter, either. Hyde said he would love to stay in Green Bay, identifying it as the best place for him, but hasn’t heard much from the team this offseason about a reunion.

Eric Ebron To Play On Sunday?

Lions tight end Eric Ebron is expected to start practicing this week, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). If he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, he’ll play on Sunday against the Texans. Eric Ebron (vertical)

Ebron has been dealing with knee and ankle injuries which have hampered him throughout the season. After playing in the Lions’ first four games, Ebron was shut down to avoid further damage. In those four weeks of action, Ebron caught 18 of 25 targets for 210 yards and one touchdown.

The former first-round pick had 47 receptions for 537 yards and five touchdowns in 2015, which were all career highs. This year, with Calvin Johnson out of the picture, Detroit was banking on Ebron taking on an even larger role. Once he’s healthy, we’re expecting to see Matthew Stafford throw plenty of passes in his direction.

Right now, free agent pickup Marvin Jones stands as the team’s leading receiver with 33 catches for 623 yards and four touchdowns. He’s also averaging an eye-popping 18.9 yards per catch. Jones may see less targets with Ebron on the field, but the tight end’s presence should also ease the defensive pressure on him.

The Lions are 4-3 heading into Sunday’s game at Houston.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions TE Eric Ebron To Miss Several Weeks

Lions tight end Eric Ebron is expected to miss “a couple weeks” as he continues to deal with knee and ankle injuries, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link).Eric Ebron (Vertical)

[RELATED: Justin Forsett To Visit Lions]

Earlier this year, Ebron gave a scare to Lions fans everywhere when he was carted off the field after suffering an injury. The early fear was that Ebron tore his Achilles, but it was apparently just an ankle injury of a lesser variety.

Ebron finished last season with 47 receptions for 537 yards and five touchdowns, all career highs for the former first-round pick expected to play a larger role for a Lions offense without Calvin Johnson this season. In four games this year, Ebron has soaked up 18 of 25 targets for 210 yards and one touchdown.

With Ebron sidelined, Detroit will lean on Khari Lee, Cole Wick, and the recently-signed Clay Harbor at the tight end spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Bears, Jeffery, Lions, Ansah

The latest on the NFC North’s two 1-3 clubs:

  • Bears receiver Kevin White‘s injury troubles could make it more difficult for the club to let fellow wideout Alshon Jeffery leave as a free agent after the season, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times observes. White, whom the Bears chose seventh overall in the 2015 draft, missed all of last season with a tibial stress fracture and is now on injured reserve after suffering a high ankle sprain and a fractured fibula in Week 4. Jeffery, meanwhile, is raking in $14.6MM as Chicago’s franchise player after it was unable to reach a long-term deal with him in the offseason. The Bears will once again have the option of tagging Jeffery after this season, or they could either reach a long-term pact with the fifth-year standout or allow him to hit the open market. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report said in July that one reason the Bears drafted White was so they could avoid signing Jeffery to a lucrative contract, but the former’s inability to stay on the field might put a wrench in that plan.
  • The Lions are unlikely to have either defensive end Ziggy Ansah or tight end Eric Ebron against 3-0 Philadelphia on Sunday, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (via Michael Rothstein). Ansah has missed the majority of the season since succumbing to a high ankle sprain early in Week 2, thus depriving Detroit of its best pass rusher. Ebron, who banged up his knee and ankle in the Lions’ 17-14 loss in Chicago last Sunday, has played through multiple injuries this season. The 23-year-old has been productive, though, as he ranks third on the Lions in receptions (18) and second in yards (210).
  • Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan is progressing well since going down with a thumb injury in Week 2 and has a chance to return Sunday against the Colts, he said after practicing Thursday with a cast on his right hand (via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com). “I led the SEC two years in a row in tackles at Kentucky with a cast on [to protect a wrist injury], so I’m pretty familiar [with playing with one],” the former Bronco stated. “I’m not very limited with the cast. It’s specially made, but I’m just trying to do everything I can to be out there with my teammates come Sunday.” Trevathan is among several key Bears who have missed this time this year, which has contributed to their poor start.

Lions’ Eric Ebron Expected Back For Week 1

Barring a setback, Lions tight end Eric Ebron is on track to play in Week 1 against the Colts, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). In fact, the source says that Ebron even has an outside chance at playing in the team’s fourth and final preseason game. Eric Ebron (vertical)

Earlier this month, Ebron gave a scare to Lions fans everywhere when he was carted off the field after suffering an injury. The early fear was that Ebron tore his Achilles, but it was apparently just an ankle injury of a lesser variety.

An Ebron absence of any length would have been unfortunate for Detroit as he is one of the team’s most dangerous receiving weapons. It also doesn’t help that backup tight end Brandon Pettigrew is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last season and new acquisition Andrew Quarless is suspended for the first two weeks of the season. Beyond them, Detroit’s tight ends are Cole WickMatthew Mulligan and Orson Charles.

Ebron finished last season with 47 receptions for 537 yards and five touchdowns — all career highs for a tight end expected to play a larger role for a Lions offense without Calvin Johnson this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Notes: Ebron, Martin, Stafford

Here’s a quick look at the Lions:

  • While Lions head coach Jim Caldwell refused to discuss the injury today, a source told ESPN’s Adam Caplan that Lions tight end Eric Ebron is dealing with a “pretty decent [right] ankle sprain.” Over the weekend, Ebron was carted off the field after suffering an apparent Achilles injury. The extent of the injury remains to be seen, but it appears that the talented tight end has avoided a season-ending Achilles tear. Ebron finished last season with 47 receptions for 537 yards and five touchdowns — all personal career highs.
  • Aside from running back Theo Riddick, Lions punter Sam Martin could be the next player up for an extension, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. Martin, he writes, boasts one of the best young legs in the league and can provide Detroit with position stability. Devin Taylor and Larry Warford would also be extension candidates, but the Lions want to see more consistency out of both players before extending them. The next big deal could to be done could be for quarterback Matthew Stafford sometime after the 2016 season.
  • This week, we checked in with Justin Rogers of The Detroit News to discuss the additions of Anquan Boldin and Marvin Jones and their prospects for the coming year.
  • Lions tight end Cole Wick says that the Raiders, Eagles, Panthers, Buccaneers, and few other teams also showed interest in him as a UDFA, Rogers tweets. Wick signed on with the Lions in May and received a $10K bonus. He may have to play a larger-than-expected role if Ebron has to miss time. For a complete look at the Lions’ tight end depth chart, head on over to Roster Resource.

Eric Ebron Carted Off After Achilles Injury

SUNDAY, 5:25pm: For what it’s worth, Ebron told multiple teammates “that he’s okay,” leading NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport to wonder whether the injury might actually be minor (Twitter link). Furthermore, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets that the Lions haven’t reached out to any free agent tight ends.

SATURDAY, 3:04pm: Eric Ebron left Saturday’s Lions practice on a cart after suffering an injury that prevented the third-year tight end from putting any weight on his lower right leg, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

Jim Caldwell, per the Lions’ usual policy regarding injuries, did not have any comment on the nature of the starter’s injury. Ebron suffered what Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter) categorized as an Achilles malady. Ebron remained down for several minutes before the cart emerged.

The Lions, who held Ebron out of practice on Friday due to an undisclosed injury, observed their tight end depth chart endure what could be a savage blow while Ebron was blocking during a drill. Backup tight end Brandon Pettigrew is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last season. Beyond those two injured performers, Detroit’s top tight ends are Matthew Mulligan and Orson Charles. The Lions also lost Tim Wright for the season due to an offseason ACL tear.

Owen Daniels, Andrew Quarless and Alex Smith are three available tight ends, should Ebron’s injury turn out to be season-altering. Birkett also lists Kellen Winslow, whom recently reappeared in the news cycle after the Packers booked a workout with him earlier today.

Ebron finished last season with 47 receptions for 537 yards and five touchdowns — all career highs for a tight end expected to play a larger role for a Lions offense without Calvin Johnson this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Roberts, Saints, Ebron, 49ers

Responding to a suggestion from Peter King of TheMMQB.com that Washington wide receiver Andre Roberts could be a logical trade target for the Ravens, Rich Tandler of CSNMidAtlantic.com writes that such a deal wouldn’t make much financial sense for Baltimore — or, presumably, any other team. Roberts is guaranteed a $2.75MM salary in 2015, the second season of a four-year contract, which is a significant amount of money for a player who has been banged up and unable to earn much playing time lately. That means Roberts is probably sticking in D.C. for now.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Kai Forbath‘s workout tour continues in New Orleans, according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com, who reports (via Twitter) that Forbath and Randy Bullock will be among the kickers auditioned by the Saints. Forbath has tried out for several teams in recent weeks, and was said to be the runner-up for clubs like the Texans and Eagles.
  • Lions tight end Eric Ebron tells ESPN’s Josina Anderson (all Twitter links) that it could take up to three weeks for him to recover from the knee injury he sustained on Monday night, but he’s relieved that it won’t require surgery.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn hasn’t spoken to Roddy White yet about the receiver’s desire for more touches and a bigger role in the offense, but stressed that White is an important part of the team moving forward, says Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.
  • Coming off a 17-3 loss, the 49ers trading an offensive player for a defensive player – as the team did yesterday – might not make much sense on the surface, but Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks it was a good move.

Birkett On Lions’ Roster

The Lions are still working to sign star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to an extension, and by doing so the team will gain some immediate cap relief, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter). He also notes that the team was in a similar situation when they freed up $3MM after signing quarterback Matthew Stafford last offseason.

Here are some other notes from Birkett from around the Lions (all links via Twitter):