Jameson Williams

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.

Lions Designate Romeo Okwara, DJ Chark For Return, Aiming For Late-Season Jameson Williams Look

Coming off their second straight win, the Lions made some notable transactions Wednesday. They designated Romeo Okwara and DJ Chark for return.

In his third season with Detroit, Okwara has been on the team’s reserve/PUP list all season. He has been recovering from a torn Achilles for more than 13 months. Chark has been out since Week 3. The free agency pickup his now missed 19 games over the past two seasons.

While Chark returning stands to bolster a Lions attack that has seen its top skill-position players either miss time (Amon-Ra St. Brown, D’Andre Swift) or be traded (T.J. Hockenson), the Lions’ plans with Jameson Williams take big-picture precedence. Still sidelined from the ACL tear he suffered in last season’s national championship game, Williams remains in the picture for this season’s Lions. The team is hoping for Williams to return to practice after Thanksgiving, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets.

It would be a nice bonus for the rebuilding Lions to have Williams see game action this season, but that may not be a guarantee. The team has been cautious with the first-round pick. Previous reports indicated a midseason return to practice was in play, but the franchise has pushed back the timetable. Considering the current team’s status and Williams’ long-term importance to the organization, it is unsurprising his rehab run is approaching the 11-month mark.

The Lions having a St. Brown-Chark-Williams trio together for this season’s final games would represent a nice evaluation window for the future. St. Brown and Williams will almost certainly be 2023 Lions starters. It is unclear if Chark will be in the team’s post-2022 plans. The former Jaguars second-rounder, who signed a one-year deal worth $10MM in March, missed almost all of last season with a broken ankle. An injury to that same ankle has shelved Chark this year. After initially leaving him on their 53-man roster, the Lions moved Chark to IR. He has seven catches for 98 yards and a touchdown in his Detroit debut.

Okwara, 27, remains attached to the three-year, $37MM deal he signed in 2021. The Lions have rostered the elder Okwara since 2018, when they claimed him off waivers from the Giants. He has 10- and 7.5-sack seasons on his Detroit resume, with the 10-sack campaign in 2020 prompting the Lions to re-sign him. The seventh-year edge rusher has not yet seen extended run with younger brother Julian, whom the Lions drafted in the 2020 third round.

Both Chark and Romeo Okwara can be moved onto the Lions’ 53-man roster at any point over the next three weeks. Residing on Detroit’s reserve/NFI list, Williams would have the same timeline once he returns to practice. The Lions are in fairly good shape, activation-wise, holding five going into Week 11.

Lions Notes: Williams, Goff, Smith, Vaitai

The Lions have dealt with a number of injuries on offense, including a notable one suffered even before the draft. Rookie wideout Jameson Williams has yet to play this year, as he continues to recover from the torn ACL he suffered in the CFP title game.

midseason return was once the team’s target, but plans have changed with respect to his timeframe. Head coach Dan Campbell echoed confidence that the Alabama product will see the field in 2022, but that will not come any time soon.

“There’s still hope,” Campbell said, via Justin Rodgers of the Detroit News“There again, he’s put together a pretty good month, a real good month. So we feel like we’re going to have him before this season’s out. It’s hard to say when that’s going to be. I would say at least probably another month. But I do feel like we’re going to get him before this is said and done.”

The Lions currently have DJ Chark on IR, but Campbell insisted that a lack of depth at the position will not play a role in the team’s handling of the highly-touted Williams with respect to his return. Here are some other notes from the Motor City:

  • 2022 was widely considered the year in which the Lions decided whether or not Jared Goff could be a long-term solution at the quarterback position. To date, the 28-year-old has committed nine turnovers (six interceptions and three fumbles) this season, giving him a total of 23 in 20 games in Detroit. Not surprisingly, then, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes that no one in the organization “truly believes Goff is the quarterback of the future” (subscription required). The Lions are one of only two teams in the league with a one-win record (1-5), so they are on track to have a top choice in next April’s draft. That will give them a prime opportunity to find a franchise signal-caller amongst this year’s celebrated class of prospects; in doing so, they could move on from Goff, who has no guaranteed money remaining on his deal after this year.
  • Saivion Smith suffered a neck injury during the team’s lopsided loss to the Patriots in Week 5. As a result, the former UDFA will undergo neck fusion surgery next month, Birkett tweets. Smith, 24, confirmed that he did not suffer a concussion on the play, but is still facing a lengthy recovery after the procedure. His absence will be felt in Detroit’s much-maligned secondary.
  • Halapoulivaati Vaitai is, of course, dealing with injury troubles of his own. The starting o-lineman continues to recover from back surgery, and is unlikely to see the field in 2022. The degree to which he is able to return to previous health and form could go a long way in determining his financial future, since, like Goff, no guaranteed compensation remains on the final two years of his contract. The 29-year-old agreed to a move affecting the books in 2022, though; ESPN’s Field Yates reports that the Lions have restructured Vaitai’s deal, creating roughly $2.4MM in cap space (Twitter link). In advance of Tuesday’s trade deadline, Detroit has just over $3MM in available funds, though their placement at the bottom of the NFC certainly points to the team being sellers, rather than buyers, on the market.

WR Notes: Lions, Burks, Broncos, Giants

The Lions are leading the NFL in scoring, having hit 35 points in three of their four games. They did so Sunday without Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift and have been playing without their No. 12 overall draft choice all season. As expected, Jameson Williams will not return to practice when first eligible. Dan Campbell confirmed the first-round pick is improving but added “several weeks” remain before practices enter the equation, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Detroit has a Week 6 bye. Campbell said it will be “a good time after” that point before the team considers Williams practicing.

An Ohio State recruit who broke through after transferring to Alabama in 2021, Williams is rehabbing the ACL tear he sustained in the national championship game. The previously mentioned midseason return, which would give Williams nearly 10 months of rehab, may not quite cover it. But the Lions are understandably playing the long game here. They are not exactly primed to contend in 2022 and could have Williams under team control through 2026, via the fifth-year option. Once Williams’ practice window is opened, the Lions have 21 days to activate him from their reserve/NFI list.

Here is the latest from the receiver scene:

  • Turf toe will pause Treylon Burks‘ rookie season. While Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes the Titans receiver is not set to undergo surgery, he will miss time (Twitter link). This absence is expected to extend beyond a couple of weeks, per Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyed. That would open the door to an IR stint. Turf toe can be a nagging issue, and this ailment has cropped up after Burks cleared some offseason hurdles to put together a somewhat promising start. Burks bounced on and off the field during the offseason for the Titans, with an asthma issue contributing to his missing minicamp. Despite the first-round pick not starting Tennessee’s opener, he caught seven passes for 102 yards over his team’s first two games. The Arkansas alum will look to build on that upon return.
  • Staying with the 2022 receiver draft class, the Commanders are set to be without their first-round pick for a stretch. A hamstring injury will likely sideline Jahan Dotson for at least two games, Ron Rivera said. Dotson has proven to be a solid contributor early, catching three touchdown passes in four weeks.
  • The Broncos, who have now lost two skill-position starters to season-ending ACL tears, are planning to elevate K.J. Hamler‘s role. Nathaniel Hackett said the 2020 second-round pick is a player the team must involve more in its game plans, via the Denver Post’s Parker Gabriel (on Twitter). Although Hamler caught a well-placed 55-yard pass in Week 4 to set up a Denver touchdown, he played four snaps in Las Vegas. Considering the Broncos are without Tim Patrick for the season, Hamler not seeing much action surprises. But the Penn State-developed speedster suffered an ACL tear and a hip injury — one the Broncos feared was a Bo Jackson-type malady — in Week 3 last season. With the team holding him out in Week 2 because of his previous injury, Hamler is still attempting to surmount that setback. During this process, the Broncos have used Kendall Hinton as their No. 3 wideout.
  • Sterling Shepard confirmed (via The Athletic’s Dan Duggan, on Twitter) he did not suffer any damage beyond his ACL tear, though the seventh-year Giants wideout estimated his tear actually occurred two plays before he went down. Shepard, who will undergo surgery this month, agreed to a pay cut to stay this offseason — which followed a 2021 Achilles tear. This latest injury could put the former second-round pick’s career in jeopardy.

WR Notes: Toney, Rams, Lions, Cards, Cooks

The Giants will enter their Week 4 game with Richie James, David Sills and Kenny Golladay as their top available wide receivers. Wan’Dale Robinson will miss a third straight game, while Kadarius Toney will be out for a second. The Toney-Giants relationship is steadily deteriorating. This regime is “clearly” not high on the Dave Gettleman-era first-round pick, Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports writes. Repeated injury problems have slowed Toney with the Giants, who saw the Eagles trade in front of them to nab DeVonta Smith last year. Reports connected the Giants to the Heisman winner ahead of last year’s draft. Toney will have missed nine career games by Sunday, due to various lower-body ailments, and the current Giants regime’s Golladay handling shows it is not afraid to bury bad investments. It would seem Darius Slayton — another player who has not impressed the current staff, leading to trade buzz — will see more run in Week 4, but Vacchiano adds the Giants will likely be looking for at least two new wideouts in 2023. Toney joined Slayton in being linked in trade rumors, albeit briefly, this offseason. Robinson, a second-round rookie, appears the only lock to be back.

Here is the latest from the receiver scene around the league:

  • Allen Robinson flashed often during Rams training camp, and determining this signing will fail after three games is ill-advised. But early indications are Robinson’s 2021 Bears performance was not an outlier. The veteran dropped a touchdown pass against the Cardinals and has just seven catches for 88 yards with Los Angeles. The Rams came in with a monster offer — three years, $46.5MM; $30MM fully guaranteed — to sign the former Jaguars and Bears wideout, using their cap space on the ninth-year player after Von Miller chose the Bills. Other teams were interested in Robinson, albeit at lower price points, but SI.com’s Albert Breer notes teams did not like what Robinson put on tape. That is not exactly surprising, considering how badly Robinson’s final Bears season (38 receptions, 410 yards, one touchdown) went. But the early returns on Robinson’s Rams deal are not promising. Rams-Odell Beckham Jr. connections will likely continue.
  • The Lions are being patient with Jameson Williams, who is recovering from an ACL tear sustained during the national championship game. Williams is on Detroit’s reserve/NFI list, and while the first-round wideout could return in Week 5, he will not. The Alabama product is likelier to be back in early November, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press posits. Williams recently posted a video of him running and cutting. A second-half return has always been rumored for Williams, whom the Lions traded up 20 spots to draft. But no setbacks having occurred here obviously represents a good sign for the rebuilding franchise.
  • The Cardinals‘ receiving corps will not be at full strength until at least Week 7, when DeAndre Hopkins is eligible to return from his PED suspension. But the team may have one of its previously unavailable weapons in uniform Sunday. Rondale Moore is tracking toward returning from his hamstring injury, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. The 2021 second-rounder, who caught 54 passes for 435 yards as a rookie, has missed Arizona’s first three games. He managed three limited practices this week. Marquise Brown, who suffered a foot injury in Week 3, is also likely to play. A.J. Green will miss Week 4 with a knee injury.
  • After Brandin Cooks played one game on the base salary he locked in by signing a two-year, $39.76MM extension in April, the Texans converted $831K of that base into a signing bonus. The Texans saved $554K with the move, Wilson notes. Cooks’ salary is down to $1.17MM; it spikes to $18MM next year. Cooks, who is now on his third contract, is signed through 2024.

Lions Hoping For Midseason Jameson Williams Return

The Lions made the expected move of shifting Jameson Williams to their reserve/non-football injury list Tuesday. The first-round pick tore an ACL in the national championship game and was never expected to start the season on time.

Detroit is, however, hoping for a midseason Williams debut, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Williams, this year’s No. 12 overall pick, must miss at least four games because of Tuesday’s transaction.

GM Brad Holmes greenlit a 20-spot trade-up in the first round for Williams, who dominated in his one season at Alabama. After sitting behind Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and Co. at Ohio State, Williams transferred and became the Crimson Tide’s top pass catcher in 2021. The import speedster caught 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns, teaming with John Metchie to help Bryce Young win the Heisman Trophy. Both receivers went down, however, before season’s end. Metchie, chosen 44th overall by the Texans, will not play in 2022, announcing a leukemia diagnosis.

Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark reside as Jared Goff‘s top wideouts to start the season, but if Williams’ rehab goes according to plan, the Lions should be able to see a handful of games from their highest-drafted receiver since Calvin Johnson (2007).

The Lions also placed edge defenders Romeo Okwara and Josh Paschal and fullback Jason Cabinda on the reserve/PUP list, sidelining the trio for the season’s first four games. Okwara suffered a torn Achilles in Week 4 of last season. During spring workouts, Paschal aggravated a core injury initially sustained while at Kentucky and underwent offseason surgery. The Lions will be careful with their second-round pick, leaving Aidan Hutchinson as the only first- or second-round Detroit draftee set for September action.

Lions Place Three Players On PUP, Two On NFI List

The Lions are the latest team to announce the list of players who will be sidelined for the start of training camp this week. An announcement on their website confirms three additions to the active/PUP list, and a pair of players who are now on the non-football injury list. 

Included among the former group is edge rusher Romeo OkwaraThe 27-year-old was limited to just four games played in 2021, as he suffered a torn Achilles in October. That marked a disappointing start to the three-year extension he signed the previous offseason, and left his training camp availability very much in doubt. When he returns, he will look to return to his 2020 form, in which he totalled a career-high 10 sacks.

Another key defender on the shelf is cornerback Jerry Jacobs. In his rookie season last year, the Arkansas alum started nine of 13 games as Jeff Okudah‘s campaign was limited to a single contest. Jacobs registered a 61% snap share before himself suffering a torn ACL in December. He should be in line for a significant role once again this season.

Second-round rookie Josh Paschal is the final inclusion on the PUP list. He was sidelined during spring workouts, though it is unclear if today’s move is the result of complications recovering from that injury, or of a new one. Head coach Dan Campbell said, “We’re trying to be smart with him,” adding that Paschal has “got a lower extremity injury.” The Kentucky product will feature in the team’s new-look defensive front when he is back on the field, which should be the case soon.

The situation is different, of course, for rookie wideout Jameson WilliamsThe No. 12 overall pick suffered an ACL tear in the national title game (which is why he is being placed on the NFI list, rather than PUP). General manager Brad Holmes recently spoke about his and the team’s optimism that a full recovery will be made. That likely won’t happen in time for the start of the regular season, but when he does make his debut, the Alabama product will add a dynamic speed element to Detroit’s passing attack.

The other NFI inclusion is linebacker Natrez Patrick, who signed as a free agent after spending the past two seasons with the Rams. He, like any of the other four players, can be activated at any time before the regular season kicks off.