Devin Funchess

WR/TE Devin Funchess Signs Deal With Colombian Basketball Team

It does not appear Devin Funchess is attempting a return to the NFL. The former wide receiver/tight end is currently in Colombia, having signed with a professional basketball team there.

Funchess agreed to a deal to join Caribbean Storm Llaneros, who are part of the Professional Colombia Basketball League. He made his debut with the team earlier this month, according to’s Kassidy Hill.

The former Panthers second-round pick last played in a regular-season game back in 2019, but he was with a team as recently as 2022. The Lions added the Detroit native but released him upon setting their initial 53-man roster that summer. Funchess, 29, went to camp with the Packers in 2021 and spent a short time on the 49ers’ practice squad during that season.

Funchess’ NFL career stalled once he signed a one-year, $10MM deal with the Colts in 2019. A Week 1 injury that year looks to have been his final act in an NFL game. While the Colts designated Funchess for return — back when only three players could be activated off IR in-season — they did not end up moving him back onto their active roster. Funchess signed with the Packers in 2020 but opted out of that season due to COVID-19 concerns.

Funchess did not play basketball at Michigan, having last played organized hoops in high school. That certainly creates a steep degree of difficulty for the 6-foot-4 performer. The Professional Colombia Basketball League’s season spans 28 games; Funchess will attempt to impress, eyeing a hopeful deal with an NBA G League team. A meeting with the GM of the Los Angeles Clippers’ G League team, per Hill, spurred Funchess to try and build some momentum in a lower-profile league. Funchess is eyeing open G League tryouts in September.

I really want to play with the [Greensboro] Swarm just because it’s like so much, it was so much love,” Funchess said of the Charlotte Hornets’ G League team. “When I look at my life and I go back to my life, yeah, Detroit gave me a lot of love, a ton of love. But Charlotte opened so many doors for me. My whole family is from North Carolina anyway. So, it’d just be dope just to get my fam to the games.”

If this is it for Funchess in the NFL, he will be best remembered for his Panthers contributions. The 2015 No. 41 overall pick served as a key Cam Newton target for the Panthers’ 15-1 team that ventured, without an injured Kelvin Benjamin, to Super Bowl 50. Funchess totaled 21 touchdown receptions as a Panther, delivering his best season — an 840-yard, eight-TD slate — in 2017 to help Carolina book its most recent playoff berth.

Lions Finalize Initial 53-Man Roster

Detroit got an early start on reducing its roster size Monday, but the team made the final moves toward 53 players Tuesday. Here are the moves from today that got the Lions there:




Placed on reserve/physically unable to perform:

Houston was the only member of the Lions’ 2022 rookie class that failed to make the initial 53-man roster. The young linebacker should have a good chance to land on the team’s 16-man practice squad Wednesday, if he can clear waivers. On the other hand, undrafted defensive lineman Demetrius Taylor found his way onto the roster after a disruptive preseason. Another undrafted rookie, running back Greg Bell, didn’t make the roster, but will remain with the team on Detroit’s injured reserve.

There were a number of surprising, but necessary, cuts today. Igwebuike had a decent chance to make the roster due to his experience and ability returning kicks. Kennedy led the team in catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns during the preseason. His lack of effective use on special teams likely lost him his spot on the final roster. Parker started much of last year at nickel for the Lions. Unfortunately he was expendable after the offseason additions of veteran JuJu Hughes and rookie Chase Lucas.

The winner of the kicking battle has been crowned as Austin Seibert made the final roster over Patterson. Patterson showed plenty of ability during the last couple of weeks and it would be no surprise if he was to be claimed by another team off waivers by tomorrow.

Finally, it appears the backup quarterback battle was won by David Blough, who outperformed Boyle in preseason. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Detroit peruse the mass of recently waived players for a new quarterback. They have the second-highest priority on the waiver wire and should have their pick of the litter if they think they can improve on Blough.

AFC South Notes: Willis, Funchess, Ngakoue

Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis impressed in limited time during the team’s Thursday night preseason game. Willis ran the offense for the first half against the Ravens and ran one play in the second half before taking his place on the sideline.

The third-round pick completed 6 of 11 pass attempts for 107 yards. Mirroring the playing styles of the quarterbacks on the opposite sideline, Willis added 38 yards rushing with a touchdown on five carries. He was sacked twice but managed not to turn the ball over in just over two quarters of play.

Despite the playing time he’s received so far this preseason, Willis is “very clearly the developmental quarterback” in the eyes of the Titans, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. While Tennessee is happy with his progress and will continue to let him get adjusted to the speed of the game this preseason, the prevailing sense is that Willis will be stashed for a bit of a redshirt year. There doesn’t seem to be any ideas of forcing Willis onto the field in any Wildcat-type packages, as has been done with other dual-threat quarterbacks in the past.

Here are a couple other rumors from the AFC South, both hailing from the Hoosier state:

  • Devin Funchess is attempting to make a strong comeback this year with a slight position shift. After spending the first five years of his career as a wide receiver, Funchess has spent the offseason working with the tight ends in Detroit. Funchess is looking to find his first regular season game action since a broken collarbone sidelined him in his first game with the Colts. Funchess joined Indianapolis on a one-year, $10MM deal in 2019, reportedly, so he could “be the top red zone target” for then-quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck shocked the world, including Funchess, when he retired a few months later. In an interview with Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Funchess remarked, “It was kind of a whirlwind having Andrew Luck retire on me. I went there basically for him. Turned down other opportunities and a lot more money to go play with him, so that was kind of a mental strain on me for that whole year.”
  • After spending time with four different franchises in his first six seasons, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue believes he has found a true home in Indianapolis, according to Zak Keefer of The Athletic. Ngakoue is one of the league’s more prolific pass rushers, accumulating 55.5 sacks in his six years of play and never missing more than one game in a season. Despite his continued success rushing the passer, Ngakoue has had trouble finding a team that will make a long-term commitment to him. Well, after only a couple of months in the state, Ngakoue seems to think he’s found the place he’d most like to stay. “There’s just something about Indiana,” Ngakoue told Keefer. “This is definitely where I want to be. This is where I’d love to retire.” If he continues his dominance over this two-year deal with the Colts, they should be more than willing to fulfill that wish.

NFC North Notes: Smith, Lions, Vikings

A strange situation may be developing in Chicago. Roquan Smith made his trade request public earlier this week, and the standout linebacker is staging a hold-in effort at Bears camp. Smith does not have an agent, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports a person claiming to represent the fifth-year defender has been contacting teams to gauge trade interest. The person calling teams is not an NFLPA-certified agent, per Florio, and the Bears have not given Smith permission to seek a trade. The team still wants to extend the two-time second-team All-Pro, even though Smith does not have much hope for salvaging this situation. A team that negotiated with this unknown Smith representative would face tampering charges. While teams are interested in the former top-10 pick, Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus does not expect a first-round pick to be offered — if it reaches the point the Bears are fielding offers.

Here is the latest from the rest of the NFC North:

  • The Lions signed veteran wide receiver Devin Funchess and converted him to tight end, a position where he spent some time while a Michigan freshman in 2012. Funchess is not a lock to make the Lions’ roster, and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes the team may only keep three tight ends. In addition to T.J. Hockenson, Dan Campbell plans to a keep a blocking tight end and an all-purpose player. Funchess would obviously be competing for the latter spot, with Birkett adding Shane Zylstra and fifth-round pick James Mitchell are in that group as well. Garrett Griffin and Brock Wright are vying for the blocking gig. Funchess would still have practice squad eligibility, and teams can still keep 16 players on their taxi squads.
  • Detroit also brought back Jarrad Davis this offseason, but the former first-round pick is not a lock to make the team. Davis has worked with the second- and third-team defenses in training camp, per Birkett, who adds the ex-Florida standout might need to show he can be a productive special teams player to make the team. Davis logged a career-high 46% special teams snap rate with the Jets last season. The Lions are not particularly deep at linebacker, but this regime did not draft Davis, who was brought in during Jim Caldwell‘s final season under GM Bob Quinn. Davis, 27, started 45 games for the Lions from 2017-20.
  • Despite the Vikings selecting Kellen Mond in last year’s third round, they brought back Sean Mannion for another potential run as Kirk Cousins‘ backup. The two have split time behind Cousins at training camp, per the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson. They are listed as co-backups on Minnesota’s depth chart, with Mond — after a year of seasoning — seemingly having a better chance to move into the QB2 role. Under Mike Zimmer, Mond worked only with the Vikings’ third-team offense. The quarterback said earlier this offseason he played at less than full strength throughout his rookie year due to contracting COVID-19 during camp.

Lions Sign TE Devin Funchess

Devin Funchess has not played since Week 1 of the 2019 season. The veteran pass catcher’s recent attempts to catch on with teams did not produce regular-season action, but he will receive another chance in a familiar place.

The Lions signed the former Michigan Wolverines standout and Detroit native Tuesday. They have listed the veteran as a tight end, which will mark a transition after his career outings have come at wide receiver. While Funchess, 28, was one of the NFL’s bigger wideouts, this will represent a challenge.

A four-year Panthers contributor, Funchess has been out of game action since suffering a season-ending injury in his 2019 Colts debut. Funchess signed with the Packers in 2020 but opted out of the league’s first COVID-19-impacted season. After his contract tolled to 2021, Funchess did not make Green Bay’s active roster. He spent part of last season on the 49ers’ practice squad.

In his receiver days, Funchess checked in at around 225 pounds. The 6-foot-4 target played a role on the Panthers’ Super Bowl 50-qualifying team as a rookie and led Carolina’s 2017 playoff-bound squad with a career-high 840 receiving yards; he scored eight touchdowns in that 2017 campaign. That season helped entice the Colts to sign him to a one-year, $10MM pact in 2019. A broken collarbone prevented Funchess from playing many snaps on that deal, and the ensuing developments have turned this Lions opportunity into a potential last-chance effort.

The Lions have T.J. Hockenson in place as their top tight end; unproven cogs line Detroit’s depth chart behind the starter. The team drafted James Mitchell in this year’s fifth round and signed Derrick Deese Jr. and Nolan Givan as UDFAs. Second-year UDFA Brock Wright is also on the roster. Mitchell and Deese have missed time during the Lions’ offseason program, giving Funchess an opportunity.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/6/21

Today’s taxi squad moves:

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

  • Signed: CB Cre’Von LeBlanc

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: QB James Morgan

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/30/21

Today’s taxi squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

New England Patriots

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

49ers Sign Devin Funchess To P-Squad

The 49ers have agreed to sign wide receiver Devin Funchess to a practice squad deal (Twitter link via’s Tom Pelissero). Funchess, once a rising star with the Panthers, has yet to see the field in 2021.

The Packers released Funchess in August with an injury settlement. Between that and his 2020 opt-out, Funchess’ Packers run came and went without having ever played a down for Green Bay. His last action came in 2019 with the Colts, a stint that was really more like a cup of coffee. That season ended midway through Week 1, thanks to a broken collarbone. On the plus side, Funchess secured $10MM in salary that year, plus some additional bucks from his terminated Packers contract.

The Panthers selected Funchess in the second round of the 2015 draft and watched him enjoy the best year of his career in 2017, compiling 63 receptions for 840 yards and eight touchdowns. Even though it took him 111 targets to get those 63 grabs, it was a glimpse of his future potential.

No one knows what Funchess has to offer at this point, but the Niners are eager to find out. There won’t be a whole lot of targets to go around behind Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and tight end George Kittle, but with Mohamed Sanu on injured reserve, Funchess could see some snaps ahead of Jauan Jennings, Trent Sherfield, and/or Travis Benjamin.

Packers Release Devin Funchess

The Packers have released Devin Funchess with an injury settlement, per the league’s transactions wire. Between this and last year’s opt-out, Funchess’ Packers run will end without having ever played a game for Green Bay.

This was the expected move after the Packers placed Funchess on IR earlier this week. Funchess has not played since his 2019 stint with the Colts, which was really more like a cup of coffee. That season ended midway through the season opener thanks to a broken collarbone. Funchess earned $10MM in salary that year — this time, he’ll leave with a portion of his one-year, $1.2MM contract.

The Panthers selected Funchess in the second round of the 2015 draft, but he has yet to put it all together in the pros. He enjoyed the best year of his career in 2017, compiling 63 receptions for 840 yards and eight touchdowns. Still, it’s worth noting that it took him 111 targets to get those 63 grabs.

With Funchess out of the picture, the Packers will move forward with Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, and Randall Cobb as their top WRs.

Packers Place Devin Funchess On IR

It does not look like Devin Funchess‘ Packers career will end up leading to any regular-season games. For the second straight year, the veteran wide receiver will not play for Green Bay.

The Packers placed Funchess on IR Wednesday. This move will end his season. While an injury settlement would allow Funchess to catch on with another team and play in 2021, Wednesday’s transaction will prevent him from suiting up for the Packers this year.

Funchess has not played since Week 1 of the 2019 season. An injury landed him on the Colts’ IR list that year. He then opted out of the 2020 season. The former Panthers draftee was set vying for a role in a now-crowded Packers receiving corps but suffered an injury during a Packers-Jets joint practice last week. Funchess did play in Green Bay’s preseason opener, showing some promise with a six-catch, 70-yard outing. It will be interesting to see if he lands elsewhere later this year.

The 27-year-old wideout signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with the Packers in 2020. That deal tolled to 2021 after Funchess’ opt-out. That contract represented the highest-profile receiver move of the Packers’ scrutinized 2020 offseason, which brought Jordan Love to town but no other wideouts of note. A year later, however, young pass catchers Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have more experience and are set to reprise their supporting-cast roles. The Packers also traded for Randall Cobb and drafted Clemson’s Amari Rodgers in Round 3. Funchess accepted a pay cut earlier this offseason.

A former second-round pick, Funchess broke out during Carolina’s 2017 playoff season. The 6-foot-4 receiver caught 63 passes for 840 yards and eight touchdowns. Beyond that year, however, the Michigan product has not surpassed 550 yards in a season. While the Colts and Packers gave him one-year contracts, Funchess has seen his career stall since leaving the Panthers.

Additionally, the Packers signed defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson and cornerback Stephen Denmark. They waived wide receiver Chris Blair as well.