Jameson Williams

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/7/23

Here are the day’s minor transactions heading into Week 5:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Elevated: WR Xavier Malone

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Latest On Lions’ Wide Receiver Depth

The Lions will welcome back an offensive weapon this weekend, but they’re expected to go against the Panthers without their top wideout. Amon-Ra St. Brown has been listed as doubtful for tomorrow’s game.

The wideout suffered an abdominal injury during Week 4 that forced him off the practice field this week. St. Brown was still seen working out with trainers on the sideline, and he stated his intent to play on Sunday. While coach Dan Campbell admitted that the team will get more clarity on the receiver’s availability before Sunday’s kickoff, the doubtful status certainly doesn’t bode well for St. Brown. For what it’s worth, the wideout was listed as questionable with a toe injury for Week 3, and he ended up playing and hauling in nine catches in a win over the Falcons.

Through four weeks, the third-year wideout leads the Lions with 26 receptions and 331 receiving yards while also hauling in a pair of touchdowns. The former fourth-round pick has been a major part of Detroit’s offense since he entered the league, hauling in 196 catches for 2,073 yards and 11 touchdowns between the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

While St. Brown will surely be missed this weekend, the Lions can at least look forward to former first-round WR Jameson Williams making his season debut. Williams was one of four Lions players to be hit with a suspension stemming from the NFL’s gambling crackdown. While it was initially announced that Williams would miss six games, his suspension was lifted earlier this week.

Despite suffering a torn ACL during the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship, the Lions still selected Williams with the 12th-overall pick in the 2022 draft. The receiver was activated to the roster in early December and got into six games down the stretch, hauling in only one of his nine targets (for a 41-yard touchdown, no less). Campbell said it’d be unrealistic to expect 60-plus snaps from Williams this weekend, and the receiver also acknowledged that it might take some time to work himself back into the mix.

“It’s just a process,” (via Tim Twentyman of the team’s website). “Whatever Ben (Johnson) has going for me we’re going to get in and execute and have a good time. We’re just looking forward to keeping winning, you know? We are 3-1 right now and hopefully we can keep the season going. I’m just trying to win. I’m just trying to keep that going.”

Josh Reynolds is expected to lead the WR depth chart tomorrow, with Williams, veteran Marvin Jones, Kalif Raymond, and rookie seventh-round pick Antoine Green also in the mix.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/2/23

Monday’s minor moves around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

As part of the new terms regarding the NFL’s gambling policy, players hit with six-game bans for gambling on non-NFL events while at team facilities have seen their suspensions reduced. As a result, Williams and Petit-Frere will be able to return as early as Week 5. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network notes that each player will receive a one-week roster exemption, after which they will need to be activated.

The same holds true of Robinson, who was suspended for the season’s opening month due to a PED violation. That ban cost the 27-year-old over $3.5MM in salary and voided the remaining guarantees in his deal, which runs through 2024. The Jaguars have had an up-and-down start to the season on offense, but the unit has fared well in pass protection so far with only eight sacks allowed. Still, Robinson’s return to the blindside will be welcomed in Jacksonville.

NFL, NFLPA Agree To Revised Gambling Policy

In the wake of an offseason filled with gambling-related punishments across the NFL, changes have come about regarding the policy dictating betting on football and other sports. The league and NFLPA agreed to a revised policy, as first reported by CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones.

Under the new rules, players found to have bet on NFL games not involving their own team will be subject to indefinite suspensions of at least one year. That has been the case on a number of previous occasions, including Calvin Ridley last year and a pair of now ex-ColtsIsaiah Rodgers and Rashod Berry – in 2023. Notably, however, players who bet on games involving their club will be subject to a ban of at least two years.

Keeping in line with the stiffer punishments for football-related betting, the new policy also includes lifetime bans for players found culpable of “actual or attempted match fixing.” One-year suspensions are also in place for players who provide “inside information” for NFL-related bets. The threat of such moves being deemed necessary has become increasingly present in recent years given the league’s about-face on betting, having developed a highly lucrative relationship with gambling partners.

On the other hand, the punishments for gambling on non-NFL events has been lessened. Betting on such sports remains permitted outside of NFL facilities, but players who violate that section of the policy will no longer be subject to six-game bans. Instead, first-time offenders will face two-game suspensions, with the penalty rising to six games for second offenses and year-long bans for third violations. Given these changes, a pair of teams will have notable players return earlier than expected.

Lions wideout Jameson Williams and Titans right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere – both handed six-game bans for placing bets at NFL facilities – will be allowed to return to action in Week 5, Jones notes. Given their status as first offenders, the new, lighter penalties for non-NFL betting will see them in place ahead of their scheduled return date under the previous policy. Both players are expected to take on starting roles when they return to action, though a ramp-up period in practice should be expected before that takes place. Free agent receiver Stanley Berryhill will also be reinstated next week.

The league’s gambling policy is not subject to CBA negotiations, but NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero notes new NFLPA executive director Lloyd Howell spoke to commissioner Roger Goodell about “inconsistencies” in the previous policy. That has resulted in Friday’s news of signficant revisions for players, although no changes are believed to have been made for other team personnel. As a result, the indefinite ban issued to Jets WRs coach Miles Austin in December is not in line to be adjusted, nor are the penalties for NFL and non-NFL gambling slated to be softened for similar violations in the future.

“In recent weeks, we have consulted with many of you and with the NFL Players Association to ensure that out policies are clear, properly communicated, and focused on protecting the integrity of the game,” a memo from Goodell reads in part. “We are working with the [NFLPA] to develop a program to educate players regarding the changes to the policy.”

As was previously the case, gambling violations will be subject to review from Goodell on a case-by-case basis. With these revisions in place moving forward, though, further clarity on all sides will presumably be attained as the league aims to a avoid a repeat of the summer’s slew of punishments being learned of. With further incentives to avoid NFL-related gambling in particular, it will be interesting to see how effective the new policy is in the future.

Lions Announce 53-Man Roster

We knew the Lions were going to make a handful of QB transactions leading up to today’s deadline, with Hendon Hooker destined for NFI and Nate Sudfeld tearing his ACL. Of course, the team made many additional moves to get to the 53-man roster limit:




Activated from PUP:

Placed on reserve/NFI:

Placed on reserve/suspended:

Placed on IR:

Released from IR:

Craig Reynolds spent the past two seasons with the Lions, and he made the most of his opportunities while on the field. He was limited to 14 games across the two seasons, but the RB still posted 500 yards from scrimmage on 94 touches. With a new-look depth chart in 2022, Reynolds found himself on the outside looking in.

The same goes for Benny Snell, who joined the organization earlier this offseason. The running back has spent his entire career in Pittsburgh, starting five of his 63 appearances. He didn’t miss a game for Pittsburgh over the past three seasons, although he’s seen a drop in productivity. After compiling 429 yards from scrimmage during the 2020 campaign, Snell has only collected 218 yards in 34 games since.

Lions WR Jameson Williams To Miss Rest Of Preseason

It doesn’t sound like we’ll see Jameson Williams again until the middle of October. The Lions wideout suffered a hamstring injury this week that will keep him out of the team’s remaining preseason contests, according to Justin Rogers of The Detroit News.

[RELATED: NFL Suspends Lions WR Jameson Williams]

Williams placed a bet on a non-NFL game while at the Lions facility, resulting in a six-game ban to begin the season. That means we won’t see the second-year wideout again until October 22 at the earliest. As Rogers writes, the Lions were planning to “douse” Williams with preseason snaps in anticipation of his absence, but an injury this week will limit the wideout to only one preseason contest. Williams had a pair of catches during Detroit’s preseason opener against the Giants.

The receiver was spotted grabbing his hamstring after running a deep route at practice on Wednesday. As Rogers points out, it was Williams’ other hamstring that forced him to miss a handful of practices during the early part of training camp. The injury provides an interesting wrinkle when considering the player’s impending suspension. Rogers writes that NFL rules require Williams to be away from the team for the first three weeks of his six-game ban. This means the player wouldn’t be able to receive treatment for his hamstring, although the organization is reportedly “exploring an exemption.”

Williams will now be missing crucial developmental reps that he didn’t get in 2022. The first-round pick was still rehabbing from a torn ACL at this time last year, and that recovery ended up extending through the first 11 games. Williams managed to return for six games, with the rookie garnering only 78 offensive snaps.

While the injury is discouraging, Lions coach Dan Campbell doesn’t believe it will have a massive impact on Williams’ development.

“As long as he stays on top of the mental portion of it, you can get a lot out of the mental work,” Campbell said (via Rogers). “If he grinds on that, takes care of the hamstring, we’ll take it as it comes.”

NFL’s Gambling Investigation Into Lions Continues

Three of the four Lions hit with gambling suspensions in April are no longer on the roster. The team waived wide receivers Quintez Cephus and Stanley Berryhill and released special-teamer C.J. Moore, who re-signed in March. But the Lions’ gambling issue is not entirely in the rearview mirror, it appears.

The NFL is investigating a fifth Lions player for a potential violation of the league’s gambling policy, Kalyn Kahler of The Athletic reports (subscription required). The league has not yet interviewed the unknown player, but seeing as the Lions have cut three players and fired multiple staffers for violations of the policy, it is safe to say this is a widespread issue within the NFC North franchise.

The one player remaining on the roster after a gambling ban, Jameson Williams, said he was not aware he was breaking an NFL rule by placing a bet on a non-NFL game at a Lions facility. Williams and Berryhill incurred six-game suspensions for making bets on non-NFL games while at the Lions’ facility (or while with the team on the road), Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Cephus, Moore and Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney received indefinite suspensions, which will cover at least one full season, for betting on NFL games.

It hit me out of the blue, and it hit a couple other players around the league and on my team out of the blue,” Williams said, via Birkett. “I wasn’t aware of this situation, but as it happened, like I said, I took it on the chin, I was ready to move forward as things moved on and I got the consequences, so that’s been my whole plan moving forward from things and just looking at the better days.”

In addition to a potential fifth Lions player being suspended, ESPN.com’s David Perdum reports the NFL is conducting an investigation into more gambling violations. Since a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that opened the doors for sports betting outside of its traditional hubs (primarily Nevada), 33 states and Washington D.C. have opened legal betting markets. Once a beneath-the-surface topic in the NFL, wagering on games and players (via daily fantasy sites) is now regularly promoted. The NFL has partnered with three sportsbooks in recent years.

In the time since the Supreme Court’s ruling, seven players have been popped for gambling policy violations. Defensive back Josh Shaw and wideout Calvin Ridley served indefinite suspensions, with Ridley being recently reinstated. Jets wide receivers coach Miles Austin also received a gambling ban. Following the April bans, the NFLPA sent an email to agents reminding of the league’s policy preventing bets on mobile apps while at team facilities, Perdum adds.

As for the Lions, they will be without Williams — last year’s No. 12 overall pick who missed most of his rookie season due to ACL rehab — for six games and may soon see another player suspended. This issue has affected Detroit most, and cleanup measures regarding NFL policy comprehension and messaging has almost definitely taken place there. But the NFL investigation could soon see more teams impacted on this front.

NFL Suspends Lions WR Jameson Williams For Gambling; Four Others Banned

A year after Calvin Ridley drew an indefinite suspension for gambling, the NFL will ban another prominent wide receiver. Jameson Williams received a suspension for violating the NFL’s betting policy, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport confirms (Twitter link).

The NFL also suspended Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus for gambling. Williams will be sidelined six games, according to the Lions. The Lions have since waived Cephus and released safety C.J. Moore, whom the league also hit with a suspension. The NFL also suspended Lions wideout Stanley Berryhill and Commanders edge rusher Shaka Toney, Rapoport reports.

Cephus and Moore received indefinite suspensions, which will cover at least the 2023 season. A former fifth-round Lions pick, Cephus had been with the team since 2020. Moore resided as a core Lions special-teamer over the past four seasons.

Williams and Berryhill remain with the Lions. Berryhill joined the 2022 first-round pick in drawing a six-game ban. Toney, a 2021 seventh-round Washington draftee, received an indefinite suspension. Toney remains with the Commanders.

As a result of an NFL investigation, it came to our attention that a few of our players had violated the league’s gambling policy,” Lions GM Brad Holmes said. “These players exhibited decision-making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules. We have made the decision to part ways with Quintez and C.J. immediately. We are disappointed by the decision-making demonstrated by Stanley and Jameson and will work with both players to ensure they understand the severity of these violations and have clarity on the league rules moving forward.”

This obviously represents a bad look for the two franchises and the NFL, coming not long after the league reinstated Ridley from his year-long suspension. The league’s policy permits players to bet on sports — just not NFL games — but prevents player bets while in team facilities. The NFL did not find the four Lions or Toney used inside information, per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter), but Friday’s news still stands to alter the Lions’ plans at wide receiver. Williams and Berryhill made mobile bets on non-NFL sporting events while in the Lions’ facility, Eric Woodyard of ESPN.com adds.

The Lions traded up 20 spots to draft Williams 12th overall last year, doing so despite the Alabama-developed speedster suffering a torn ACL in the previous national championship game. Williams missed 11 games last season and caught just one pass — a 41-yard touchdown — upon returning; the Lions used their rehabbing receiver sparingly. But Williams was set to be a key component of the Lions’ 2023 offense. Those plans are on hold. Williams and Berryhill will be permitted to participate in offseason workouts, training camp and preseason games, per NFL rules, but the receivers will then be shut down until Week 7.

Additionally, the Lions fired several staffers last month for violating the gambling policy, Woodyard reports. The Lions first learned of the NFL’s investigation in March. The staffers’ dismissals coupled with the four player suspensions point to a widespread problem — regarding rule awareness at the very least — among the Lions here. Williams’ agency indicates (via Rapoport) the second-year wideout accepts responsibility for his infraction but notes the penalty stems from an otherwise-legal bet — just one that took place on team property. Players are also prohibited from making bets on team planes or in hotels on the road.

For decades, the NFL featured a short list of players banned for gambling policy violations. That number has grown substantially over the past four years. Friday’s news runs the number of NFL players suspended for gambling to seven since 2019, following Ridley and defensive back Josh Shaw. Ridley is on track to return to action as a Jaguar; Shaw never played again after his ban.

A former UDFA, Berryhill played four games for the Lions last season. Toney served as a backup pass rusher in 16 with the Commanders in 2022. He did not record a sack last season but registered 1.5 as a rookie in 2021. Toney’s future with the NFC East team should certainly be considered in doubt. Should Toney be back with the Commanders in 2024, two years will still remain on his rookie contract. This suspension will lead to the deal tolling.

As for the Lions, their receiver situation suddenly looks quite different. Williams was set to join Amon-Ra St. Brown and the recently reacquired Marvin Jones as the team’s top receivers. Josh Reynolds also remains under contract. The Lions signed Jones on March 29; it is fair to wonder if the NFL’s investigation into Williams and Cephus played a part in that move. Of course, the Lions re-signed Moore on March 18; the organization clearly learned of this investigation after that date. Cephus joined Berryhill in only playing in four games last season, but the three-year veteran represented depth for a position group that lost DJ Chark this offseason.

Lions Activate WR Jameson Williams, DE Romeo Okwara

The Lions announced today that they will be adding two major pieces at a time when the team is playing its best football of the season. Rookie first-round pick Jameson Williams is set to make his NFL debut after spending the first 12 weeks of the season on the reserve/non-football injury list and defensive end Romeo Okwara is set to play his first football since October 3rd of last season.

Williams was a transfer student who joined the Crimson Tide after two seasons at Ohio State. In his lone season at Alabama, Williams dominated as the team’s No. 1 receiver. While teammate (and fellow rookie who also has yet to play an NFL snap) John Metchie III led the team in catches (96), Williams led the team in every other receiving category with his 79 receptions for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns. A month after Metchie tore his ACL in the 2021 SEC Championship Game, Williams tore his in the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship game.

Detroit has had to make do without many receiving options this year. Williams has been unavailable until now, free agent addition DJ Chark has only appeared in five games this year due to an ankle injury, and Quintez Cephus has been on injured reserve since the beginning of October, much like he was last year. With all those receivers out, second-year wide out Amon-Ra St. Brown has stepped up for a breakout year leading the team in receptions (65), receiving yards (716), and receiving touchdowns (4). Kalif Raymond and Josh Reynolds have also been asked to step up during the absences. It’s unclear how much Williams will be involved this week, so it might make sense for the Lions to play this week with a top-three of St. Brown, Raymond, and Chark, easing Williams into professional play and counting on Reynolds and Tom Kennedy in relief.

Okwara is in his fifth year with the Lions after spending two years as an undrafted free agent with the Giants. Detroit claimed the pass rusher off waivers from New York just before the 2018 season and he rewarded them immediately. Okwara started 14 games for the Lions in 15 appearances and led the team with 7.5 sacks and 14 quarterback hits, adding eight tackles for loss for good measure. After a surprising down year in 2019 where Okwara saw his usage plummet, he came back with a vengeance in 2020. Okwara posted career highs in sacks (10.0), tackles for loss (11.0), and quarterback hits (18) leading the team in each category by a mile. Okwara saw his 2021 season end with a torn Achilles tendon in Week 4 and hasn’t seen the football field since, spending all of this season so far on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

The Lions pass rush could certainly use the 2020-version of Okwara. The team’s sack leader this year in rookie No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson, who only has 5.5 sacks. After Hutchinson, Detroit has three players tied with two sacks apiece. One of those players is Okwara’s younger brother Julian Okwara. The younger Okwara brother is unfortunately headed to IR after injuring his elbow in the team’s Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Bills. Unless the team feels strongly about bringing the third-year outside linebacker back for the final two games of the regular season, his year may be over. Activating Romeo is a big boost but losing your second-most effective pass rusher for the season in Julian hurts.

In addition to the team’s three reserve list transactions, the Lions will also promote center Ross Pierschbacher from the practice squad as a standard gameday elevation against the Jaguars this week.

Lions Designate WR Jameson Williams For Return

Fresh off a victory which extended their winning streak to three games, the Lions could have a significant addition coming soon. The team announced on Monday that they have opened rookie wideout Jameson Williams‘ practice window.

That gives him three weeks to be activated from the NFI list. If he does not return within that timeframe, he will be ineligible to play in 2022. Today’s news represents an encouraging step towards a debut in the near future, though. It also falls in line with what the team had indicated last week.

“I would say probably after Thanksgiving sometime… I think that’s tentatively what we’re looking at,” head coach Dan Campbell had said at that time on the question of bringing Williams into the fold. ” We’ll see where it goes. He’s progressing, there’s no setbacks.”

Detroit traded up in the first round to select the Alabama product with the No. 12 pick, despite knowing that his ACL tear would leave him unavailable for most of the season. The team had initially aimed for a return to the field around the midway mark of the campaign, but that proved too optimistic. Any game action from Williams would likely do wonders for the team’s offense, given the production he put up in his final college season.

The 6-2, 190-pound speedster racked up 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns while helping lead the Crimson Tide to the national title game. It was there that he suffered the injury, though it did little to hurt his draft stock. A healthy Williams would provide the Lions with their top trio at the position for the first time, joining Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark (who himself was just activated from IR).

That could help provide some stability in the passing game for the 4-6 Lions. The team ranks mid-pack with an average of 245 yards per game through the air for the season, but has fallen short of 200 yards three times in the past five games. In the near future, though, the Lions’ full array of wideouts should be available.