The Lions cut defensive lineman Cornelius Washington, according to a team announcement. Washington was set to enter the second year of a two-year, $6MM deal, so his release comes as a surprise.
Washington played 488 snaps last season at defensive end with the Lions and registered 2.5 sacks. The Lions, though, drafted Da’Shawn Hand in the fourth round this year, which put him on the chopping block.
Prior to joining the Lions, Washington spent four years with the Bears. He has 46 career games to his credit, but he’s registered only four starts across five NFL seasons. Washington will likely find a new home before the season opener, but it will almost certainly be as a reserve.
In related moves, the Lions signed cornerbacks Dexter McDougle and Sterling Moore and offensive lineman Beau Nunn. To help make room, the Lions placed linebacker Steve Longa on IR and waived cornerback Antwuan Davis.
The Lions made a series of moves today, according to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com (via Twitter). Besides making their signing of Ricky Jean-Francois official, the Lions also signed linebacker Darnell Sankey. To make room on the roster, the team has waived linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton and offensive lineman Beau Nunn.
Sankey, a 2016 undrafted free agent out of Sacramento State, has bounced around the league over the past two years. The six-foot-two, 250-pound linebacker has had stints with the Broncos, Raiders, Chiefs, Vikings, Colts, and Ravens. He ended up appearing in six games for Indy last season without compiling a tackle. He’ll joined a crowded Lions depth chart that already has Christian Jones, Jonathan Freeny, Cam Johnson, Trevor Bates, and Steve Longa competing for backup reps.
Benton, a former standout at West Virginia, signed with the Lions as an undrafted free agent back in May. Nunn, an Appalachian State product, also signed with Detroit as an undrafted free agent. With the offensive tackle off the roster, one of Corey Robinson, Brian Mihalik, Adam Bisnowaty, and Dan Skipper will presumably have a better shot of making the roster.
After meeting with the Lions yesterday, Jean-Francois inked a one-year deal with Detroit. The 31-year-old split last season between the Patriots and Packers, compiling seven total tackles.
One of the last UDFA contingents to be unveiled, the Lions have announced their 16-man group. Here’s the full rundown:
- Al-Rasheed Benton, LB (West Virginia)
- Amari Coleman, CB (Central Michigan)
- Antwuan Davis, CB (Texas)
- Josh Fatu, DT (USC)
- Mike Ford, CB (Southeast Missouri)
- DeAndre Goolsby, TE (Florida)
- Chris Jones, CB (Nebraska)
- Kyle Lewis, WR (Cal Poly)
- Chad Meredith, LB (Southeast Missouri)
- John Montelus, OL (Virginia)
- Beau Nunn, OL (Appalachian State)
- Brandon Powell, WR (Florida)
- Teo Redding, WR (Bowling Green)
- Ryan Santoso, P (Minnesota)
- Anthony Sherrils, S (Missouri)
- JoJo Wicker, DL (Arizona State)
This class interestingly houses two members of Southeast Missouri’s most recent defense. Ford led the Redhawks with 14 passes defensed last season and finished with 28 bench press reps at his pro day. Meredith was a first-team all-conference performer as a junior in 2016. Having started 41 career games at Appalachian State, Nunn finished last season with the fewest pressures allowed among full-time Division I-FBS players.
Detroit will bring in four cornerbacks after not using one of its six draft choices at this spot. The Lions did add former Seahawks corner DeShawn Shead in free agency and have 2017 second- and fifth-round picks Teez Tabor and Jamal Agnew on their roster.