Evan Brown

Lions Rumors: Oruwariye, Brockers, R. Okwara

Just a few months ago, Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye was reportedly in line for a lucrative contract extension, or perhaps a notable free agent contract next offseason. To say that Oruwariye’s stock has dropped since those reports surfaced would be an understatement.

Oruwariye has struggled mightily in 2022, and he was benched for Detroit’s Week 5 loss to the Patriots. He returned to the field for the team’s Week 7 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday — the Lions had a Week 6 bye — but a player that entered the season looking like a potential defensive cornerstone is now a trade candidate, as Justin Rogers of the Detroit News opines.

For what it’s worth, head coach Dan Campbell does not believe that Oruwariye’s uncertain contract situation has impacted his performance (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press), though the return of Jerry Jacobs — who was activated from the PUP list this week and who made his 2022 debut against Dallas — could make Oruwariye more expendable. Rogers believes the Lions would look for a fourth- or fifth-round pick if they seek to trade the Penn State product.

Here are a few more Detroit-related items:

  • Like Oruwariye in Week 5, Michael Brockers was a healthy scratch for the Lions’ Week 7 contest against the Cowboys, as Kyle Meinke of MLive.com notes. The 31-year-old D-lineman had started each of the club’s previous five games, but he appeared in just 11 snaps in the New England matchup several weeks ago, and he has a grand total of two quarterback hits in 21 starts for Detroit over the past two years. Brockers is under club control through 2023, though the team can save $10MM against the cap if it releases him at year’s end. At this point, a release appears inevitable.
  • Edge rusher Romeo Okwara suffered a torn Achilles last October, which ended his 2021 season after just four games, and he has been parked on the PUP list since July. He has been eligible to return for several weeks now, but Rogers says the Lions have given no indication that Okwara is ready to practice. Even if Okwara gets back on the field this year and performs as he did during his 10-sack 2020 campaign, Rogers believes the team may not retain him after the season is over. A release would create $7.5MM in cap room, and the team’s draft position and the development of players like second-round rookie Josh Paschal will factor into GM Brad Holmes‘ decision-making process.
  • The Lions continue to be without first-round rookie Jameson Williams, and fellow wideout DJ Chark was recently placed on IR. Detroit’s WR group was further depleted on Sunday, as second-year pro Amon-Ra St. Brown took a hit to the head in the Dallas game and was immediately ruled out for the remainder of the contest pursuant to the new concussion protocol provisions (Twitter link via Rogers). His status for the Lions’ Week 8 game against the Dolphins will obviously be up in the air.
  • In addition to Oruwariye, Rogers names DL Austin Bryant, C Evan Brown, and LB Chris Board as potential trade candidates. The 1-5 Lions profile as sellers as we approach the November 1 trade deadline.

Lions C Frank Ragnow Sidelined For Week 2

The Lions’ highly-regarded offensive line has taken another notable hit. Starting center Frank Ragnow will miss the team’s second game of the season, as noted by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press

[RELATED: Lions G Vaitai Undergoes Back Surgery]

Groin and, more notably, toe injuries are the cause for the Pro Bowler’s absence. Birkett notes that Ragnow played through the ailments last week against the Eagles, but that the toe issue is on the same foot which caused him to undergo season-ending surgery last year.

That injury limited him to just four games in 2021, the first season after signing a then-historic extension which briefly made him the NFL’s highest-paid center. The former first-rounder has been a full-time starter since his rookie season, and played a key role in the Lions’ offensive line emerging as one of the best in the NFL. Any extended absence would deal a significant blow to the unit, which is already shorthanded.

The Lions have been without fellow starter Halapoulivaati Vaitai since the start of the year, so they will have only three-fifths of their best projected o-line against the Commanders. Just as he did after Ragnow’s injury last season, Evan Brown will step in at center. His play in 2021 – one sack allowed en route to an overall PFF grade of 66.8 – fell well short of Ragnow’s caliber of play, but, if repeated, could at least provide stability at the position.

Between the injuries up front, and the potential for top running back D’Andre Swift to sit out (or least play a more limited role) due to an ankle issue, head coach Dan Campbell admitted that the team’s offensive approach will need to be altered.

“[The injuries change] what we do a little bit, just the style that we need to play,” he said. “You just, we’ll have to shift the burden a little bit other places or the load to other places on our team, which is OK. That’s what we got to do. That’s what we’re charged with.”

Whether with a run-heavy approach or a more pass-oriented attack utilizing the team’s upgraded pass-catching corps, the Lions will look to move to 1-1 on Sunday, with the hopes that Ragnow will be sidelined for far less time than he was last year.

Lions To Re-Sign OL Evan Brown

Set to be a restricted free agent, Evan Brown is bypassing that process to stay with the Lions. The team’s Frank Ragnow replacement is staying on a one-year deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

After Ragnow went down early in the season, Brown stepped in and started 12 games. Pro Football Focus graded the Lions’ O-line 13th, and while Brown checked in with the lowest grade among full-time starters, he posted a respectable mark for his position. This move bolsters the Lions’ depth for the 2022 season.

Brown’s deal is worth just more than $2MM, Doug Kyed and Brad Spielberger of PFF note (via Twitter). This salary comes in just below the right-of-first-refusal tender figure, the lowest of the RFA tender values.

The former UDFA out of SMU remains on track for unrestricted free agency in 2023. The Lions now have all five O-line starters and nearly their entire backup nucleus signed for next season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/2/21

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

  • Signed off Jets’ practice squad: G Blake Hance
  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: S Karl Joseph
  • Promoted: G Cordell Iwuagwu, LB Montrel Meander, T Alex Taylor

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Promoted: DB John Brannon

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/10/20

Here are the NFL’s recent practice squad moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

  • Released: C Cohl Cabral

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/5/20

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: LB Matt Judon

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

  • Signed off Raiders’ practice squad: CB Dylan Mabin

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: S Marcus Epps; Epps tested positive for the coronavirus but is believed to be asymptomatic, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link)

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/26/20

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: LS Nick Moore

Cleveland Browns

Detroit News

Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: LB Christian Kuntz

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/18/20

Here are the minor moves from the first day of official free agency. The list will be updated throughout Wednesday.

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Jacksonville Jaguars

Miami Dolphins

Washington Redskins

Dolphins Claim WR Mack Hollins

Another veteran wide receiver will head to Miami via waiver claim. The Dolphins submitted a successful claim for former Eagles wideout Mack Hollins on Wednesday.

Hollins follows Trevor Davis, whom the Raiders recently cut, to south Florida. The Dolphins have lost multiple receivers to season-ending injuries in recent weeks.

The Dolphins also signed offensive lineman Evan Brown off the Giants’ practice squad. They waived offensive lineman Chris Reed and cornerback Ken Crawley, the latter with an injury designation, to make room on their 53-man roster.

With their receiver situation battling injuries for most of the season, the Eagles gave Hollins extensive work. He played in at least 50% of Philadelphia’s offensive snaps in six games this season but produced just 10 receptions for 125 yards. The 2017 fourth-round pick’s rookie contract runs through 2020, so the Dolphins will have a chance to evaluate him in the offseason as well.

The Dolphins signed Reed to a low-end two-year deal this offseason; he played in five games with one start. Brown is a rookie UDFA out of SMU who’s played three snaps this season. A former Saints corner, Crawley played in four Dolphins games this season.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/13/19

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed: C Nate Trewyn

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

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