Jerry Jacobs

Latest On Lions’ Secondary Plans

After ranking at or near the bottom across the board defensively last season, the Lions made a number of investments this offseason. Most of them came in the secondary. The team signed three expected starters and drafted a fourth in the second round. Two of those starters will not be available against the Packers tonight.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Emmanuel Moseley are out, though the latter is moving closer to debuting for his new team. The former 49ers cornerback will not play against the Pack, per’s Tom Pelissero, but the Lions have a big role in mind for him once he is finally cleared to return.

The Lions are preparing to incorporate Moseley as a regular immediately. Dan Campbell said (via the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers) the free agent pickup is expected to rotate with Jerry Jacobs upon debuting. Jacobs will still have a regular gig and a chance to fend off Moseley, but Detroit prioritized the latter in free agency. GM Brad Holmes said Moseley would have likely been out of the Lions’ price range had he not suffered an ACL tear in October 2022.

I think, more than anything, it will probably be by series,” Campbell said of Detroit’s upcoming CB rotation. “Certainly give [Moseley] a couple in a row where he gets a good feel and I think most of it will be we’ll put a governor on his reps so that we’ll be smart about that as he comes back. Then, really from there, it’s how does he feel?

I think everybody feels pretty good about as he goes out there, he’s going to get his legs back under him pretty quick. Certainly, we’ll see where that goes. The good news is if it’s not quite there yet then we still have Jerry and we’ll battle it out. We’re fortunate to have both those guys.”

Moseley, 27, has undergone two surgeries, the second coming this summer, and Rogers notes he would likely have debuted already were it not for a summer hamstring strain. Moseley started 33 games for the 49ers and added five postseason starts — including Super Bowl LIV. He operated as a boundary corner in San Francisco and, after signing a one-year deal worth $6MM, will be expected to start alongside Cameron Sutton and nickel Brian Branch in Detroit.

This represents a big year for Moseley, who will need to show sufficient form following the knee injury. Moseley signed a lower-level deal (two years, $9.38MM) in 2021 to stay in San Francisco. After his one-year Lions pact, time is running out for the sixth-year defender to score a lucrative payday.

Gardner-Johnson resides in the same boat, though he has a bit more time to cash in. The 25-year-old defender, however, has seen a torn pectoral muscle hijack his Motor City platform season. Although this injury frequently ends players’ seasons, Campbell has not ruled out the possibility of the starting safety returning late in this campaign.

Campbell said during a WXYT radio interview (h/t Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press) Gardner-Johnson is not a lock to be shut down. The Lions will likely hold back one of their eight IR activations for CJGJ. Tracy Walker, who suffered an Achilles tear early last season, started in place of Gardner-Johnson against the Falcons. Walker made for an unusual backup, having signed a three-year, $25MM deal after 34 games from 2019-21.

Gardner-Johnson had aimed to use this Lions season to command a better market than he did in March, when he agreed to a one-year deal worth $6.5MM with the Lions. While it is possible the Lions will have both their one-year DB investments — Gardner-Johnson and Moseley — on the field together later this season, the team has some backups with extensive starter experience holding down the fort.

Additionally, the Lions are on track to have two of their offensive starters — Taylor Decker and David Montgomery — back tonight. The veteran left tackle and UFA running back addition are slated to play, Rogers adds. Decker has missed the past two weeks; Montgomery was sidelined for Week 3.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson Addresses Eagles Exit; Buccaneers, Ravens Showed Interest

Despite multiple seasons as an upper-echelon slot cornerback and tying for the NFL lead with six interceptions in his first year as a full-time safety, C.J. Gardner-Johnson only scored a one-year deal worth $6.5MM this offseason. The Lions have the ex-Aaron Glenn Saints pupil as a rental of sorts.

This season will be about re-establishing value for Gardner-Johnson, and while the fifth-year DB expressed interest in staying in Detroit on a longer-term deal (via the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett), he offered more information on his Philadelphia exit.

When Gardner-Johnson signed with the Lions, a report indicated the Eagles had made him a multiyear offer. Gardner-Johnson, 25, was said to have been angling for more money from the Eagles, who were rumored to be interested in retaining him. During an offseason in which the Eagles rebooted at both safety and linebacker, Gardner-Johnson said he was informed the team was going in a different direction. Rather than accept a Lions offer over an Eagles proposal, CJGJ insisted no firm Philly proposal came his way, Birkett adds.

Gardner-Johnson instead said someone in the Eagles’ front office told him the team was moving on. The timing here could be notable. The Eagles had discussed trading Darius Slay, and other teams showed interest in James Bradberry. Days into free agency, however, the Eagles regrouped with Slay — en route to an extension on March 16 — and had agreed to re-sign Bradberry two days earlier. While prioritizing their older corners, the defending NFC champions eventually let Gardner-Johnson walk. Gardner-Johnson’s Lions deal came to pass on March 19.

[My] DB coach even know why I was pissed off that whole week,” Gardner-Johnson said of his free agency stay. “I got the front office telling me they’re not going to pay me. And I’m not trying to think about money, I’m just trying to think about ball, but when you just throw a subliminal out of nowhere … ‘Play your hardest; we’re not going to pay you.’ … Well, all right, what does that come from?

Carrying understandable animosity toward the Eagles, Gardner-Johnson also said a Saints staffer told him he would not be in their plans at safety just before the team sent him home ahead of the August 2022 trade to the Eagles. Known as much for his instigation tactics as his play, the brash cover man also drew some level of interest from the Buccaneers and Ravens, Birkett adds. The Ravens hired ex-Eagles DBs coach Dennard Wilson, whom Sean Desai beat out for Philly’s DC gig.

Gardner-Johnson is set to begin his Lions season as a safety alongside Kerby Joseph. While rumors of the former fourth-round pick moving back to the slot under Glenn circulated in May, Brian Branch commandeered that job during training camp. The Lions infused their secondary with talent this offseason, one that also included additions of Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley.

Gardner-Johnson would be open to another Detroit deal but noted the team has other priorities ahead of him. Jared Goff is signed through 2024, but the team has engaged its quarterback in extension talks. Amon-Ra St. Brown‘s contract year also looms in 2024, while guard Jonah Jackson is going into a platform campaign this season. Jackson joins Goff in having talked to the Lions about a deal. Penei Sewell also stands to be in the Lions’ extension plans, though the right tackle can be controlled through 2025 via the fifth-year option, with Birkett adding cornerback Jerry Jacobs may be on the extension radar as well.

This year’s safety market did not take off for anyone except Jessie Bates, who signed a four-year, $64MM Falcons deal. No other safety scored even an $8MM-AAV pact, putting Gardner-Johnson in an interesting place with regards to a 2024 free agency bid. But he will attempt to use this season to command a nice guarantee on his third NFL contract.

CB Rumors: Jackson, Lions, Jaguars, Apple

Adoree’ Jackson served as the Giants‘ No. 1 cornerback last season, his second with the team. Despite coming off injury, Jackson fared well against Justin Jefferson in the Giants’ wild-card win. But the team is experimenting on a potential shift in the veteran’s role during training camp. Jackson has seen extensive time in the slot in camp, and Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News notes the prospect of Jackson in the slot and Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins outside is viable.

The Titans used Jackson as an outside corner during his Tennessee tenure, and the Giants stationed Darnay Holmes in the slot last year. They also drafted Cor’Dale Flott as a slot option in last year’s third round. But Holmes has struggled during camp, per Leonard. Hawkins, chosen in the sixth round out of Old Dominion, does not have slot experience. Jackson’s willingness as a tackler would benefit the Giants if they followed through on this, though the move is not set in stone. Holmes still operated as the team’s lead slot defender in a joint practice against the Lions on Wednesday, Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets. Hawkins being in consideration for a regular role would be notable for a Giants team that struggled for CB depth last year.

Here is the latest from NFL secondaries:

  • Emmanuel Moseley‘s cleanup procedure on the ACL he tore last year has led to an unexpected delay in his return. Moseley reported to camp late due to the surgery, and the Lions placed the free agent signing on the active/PUP list. While Dan Campbell said last week the team expected Moseley back soon, the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett notes no timetable exists for the ex-49er’s return, adding that he may not be a lock to start the season on time. This surgery has provided another delay for Moseley, who signed a one-year, $6MM deal that came with $2MM guaranteed. Campbell confirmed Moseley’s absence to start camp was excused.
  • Fellow UFA addition Cameron Sutton and Jerry Jacobs have worked as Detroit’s starting cornerbacks in camp, and while the return of Moseley will give the Lions another starter-level corner, rookie UDFA Starling Thomas has made enough of an impression that Birkett added he is a good bet to make the 53-man roster. He of a 4.28-second 40-yard dash at UAB’s pro day, Thomas has been running with the Lions’ second-stringers at corner alongside Will Harris.
  • Few battles for starting spots are transpiring in Jacksonville, but the Jaguars are holding one at nickel corner. Despite bringing back Tre Herndon on another one-year deal, the Jags are pitting the sixth-year veteran against several players for the slot role. Second-year players Gregory Junior (Round 6) and Montaric Brown (Round 7) join sixth- and seventh-round rookies Erick Hallett and Christian Braswell in vying for this job, per Michael DiRocco of Fifth-round safety Antonio Johnson has mixed in here as well. Herndon re-signed on a fully guaranteed $2.58MM deal. Formerly surpassing 900 defensive snaps in back-to-back years, Herndon finished with just 416 last season.
  • Eli Apple‘s Dolphins deal is worth $1.6MM over one season, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. Incentives could take the veteran corner’s contract up to $2.28MM. While the $1.6MM is not entirely guaranteed, the former top-10 pick received a $250K signing bonus.

Latest On Emmanuel Moseley, Lions’ CB Room

The Lions spent considerable free agent and draft resources to revamp their secondary, leaving optimism for improved play on the backend in 2023. A key position battle looms for the unit in training camp, though.

Cameron Sutton – who signed a three-year, $33MM contract in free agency – is in line to serve as Detroit’s top outside cornerback this season. Expectations will be high for the ex-Steeler given not only the terms of his deal, but also the vacancy he is filling (one which was once occupied, in part, by former No. 3 pick Jeff Okudah). The Lions also inked C.J. Gardner-Johnson to a one-year pact, but he is expected to primarily play in the slot this season.

That leaves the second perimeter corner job up for grabs, as detailed by Tim Twentyman of the team’s website. The top two contenders for the role are free agent signing Emmanuel Moseley and returnee Jerry Jacobs. The former received $6MM on a one-year deal in March, giving him an opportunity to rebuild his value after his 2022 season was ended by an ACL tear. That injury put him in the Lions’ price range, however.

General manager Brad Holmes recently admitted, via Colton Pouncey of The Athletic, that Moseley’s injury – and the resultant damage it did to his value on the open market – was likely necessary for Detroit to be able to afford him (subscription required). The 27-year-old was in the midst of his second consecutive campaign as a full-time starter for the 49ers last season before the ACL tear, so recovering from it could give the Lions a low-cost, high-upside contributor. Moseley’s progress with respect to rehab has been encouraging to date, Twentyman notes.

Jacobs, meanwhile, spent the beginning of the 2022 season rehabbing his own ACL tear from the previous season. Upon his return to the field, though, he was a standout performer on an otherwise disappointing Lions secondary. The 25-year-old racked up one one interception, eight pass deflections and 42 tackles in eight contests. He also allowed a completion percentage of just 53.3% in coverage, pointing to signficant potential moving forward.

With Moseley still rehabbing, Jacobs logged the majority of first-team reps during spring practices. Presuming the former is able to participate in training camp, though, it will be interesting to watch how the workload is divided between the two (as well as second-round rookie Brian Branch, who showcased a diverse skillset during his college career). Regardless of how their individual competition plays out, a signficant step forward on defense in general, and in the secondary in particular, should be expected in the Motor City.

Lions CBs Emmanuel Moseley, Jerry Jacobs To Compete For Starting Role

Despite narrowly missing the playoff field in 2022, the Lions finished last in the league in total defense and in the bottom-five in scoring defense. Part of GM Brad Holmes‘ efforts to improve upon that performance included a secondary overhaul this offseason.

Holmes traded Jeff Okudah, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2020 draft who failed to live up to the expectations that Detroit’s Bob Quinn/Matt Patricia regime had for him, to the Falcons. He also allowed Mike Hughes to depart in free agency while adding Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley, and C.J. Gardner-Johnson to the defensive backfield.

Of that trio of free agent newcomers, only Sutton landed a multiyear deal, and he is expected to occupy one of the starting boundary corner spots while Gardner-Johnson operates as the Lions’ primary nickel. As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes, Moseley will likely start opposite Sutton as an outside-the-numbers CB, though he will be competing with Jerry Jacobs for the gig. He will also need to get healthy.

Per Birkett, Moseley — who sustained an ACL tear in October as a member of the 49ers — sat out OTAs and mandatory minicamp as he continues to rehab his injury. He did take some first-string walk-through reps, and he impressed the coaching staff by staying with the team for the final week of OTAs after head coach Dan Campbell had excused most of his players.

Moseley, a 2018 UDFA, broke through as a key player for the 49ers during the 2019 season and landed a two-year, $10.1MM contract in March 2021. Unfortunately, a knee injury and an ankle malady forced him to miss six games during the 2021 regular season — though he did return to play every snap of the team’s three-game playoff run — and his October ACL tear dampened his market during his first foray into unrestricted free agency, which forced him to accept a one-year deal from the Lions worth up to $6MM (according to, Moseley’s $2MM signing bonus accounts for his only guaranteed money, and his contract also includes a $3MM base salary and up to $1MM in per-game roster bonuses).

When he has been on the field, the Tennessee product has generally played well. He earned a solid 68.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus in 2021 and a 70.9 mark for his limited work in 2022, and PFF thought highly of his coverage abilities in both years. Underscoring those metrics are the miniscule 65.6 and 66.9 quarterback ratings that he has yielded over the past two seasons, and he also has the ability to line up in the slot should DC Aaron Glenn want to move Gardner-Johnson around the formation.

Jacobs, though, will represent worthy competition, and he will be highly-motivated to retain a significant role on the Lions’ defense as he enters a platform year. The 2021 UDFA has played in 25 games (17 starts) for Detroit over the past two seasons, and while PFF assigned him a poor 55.8 overall grade in 2022, he earned a 65.8 score in his rookie campaign. Quarterbacks throwing in his direction last year had a meager passer rating of 70.0.

Birkett did not offer any insight as to Moseley’s Week 1 availability, but it does not sound as if he will miss too much regular season time, if any.

“He’s anxious man,” new cornerbacks coach Dre Bly said of Moseley. “He was a pretty daggoone good player out there in San Fran. He’s from North Carolina, went to Tennessee, played with [Sutton], so those guys are kind of wired the same and so just to see his fire to get back on the field, his commitment to working and rehabbing, it tells you about the man. When most guys are traveling and vacationing, he’s here working to make sure he’s ready when we come back to camp. So I’m excited to have a chance to work with him. I think he brings a tremendous amount of leadership and experience to our room and can’t wait to see what comes from that.”

Lions Place WR DJ Chark On IR

DJ Chark has not seen the field since Week 3, and is not close to a return. The Lions announced on Saturday that the veteran wideout has been placed on IR.

The move guarantees that Chark will not be able to return for another month, and adds to the disappointment of his debut season in Detroit. The 26-year-old signed a one-year deal in March, as the team made a number of moves aimed at upgrading its aerial attack. Even with first-round rookie Jameson Williams yet to be activated, that improvement has taken place so far, as the Lions rank eighth in the NFL in passing yards per game (272).

Chark, however, has played a small role in that early success. The former Pro Bowler scored a touchdown in Week 1, but was held without a catch the following week. Overall, he has totaled 98 yards on seven receptions in 2022, a year in which he looked to put availability troubles behind him after an ankle injury limited him to four contests last season.

“I’m not really too comfortable speaking too deep into the detail of [the injury], just because I’m trying to figure out everything myself,” Chark said when speaking to the media, during which time he was seen in a walking boot. “But I definitely will be back this year for sure.”

Without their top free agent signing, the Lions will move forward with Josh Reynolds and Amon-Ra St. Brown as their top wideouts, along with tight end T.J. Hockenson as a focal point of their pass-catching corps. Chark is joined by cornerback Bobby Price on IR.

In more positive news, the team also confirmed that rookie defensive Josh Paschal and second-round corner Jerry Jacobs have been activated from the PUP list. Coming off of their bye week, the Lions will look to earn their second win of the year on Sunday against the Cowboys.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/5/22

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

A number of players who were placed on IR after the preseason and prior to the regular season returned to practice today. These players will have a three-week practice window until they have to be activated to the active roster. Otherwise, they’ll be ineligible to return this season.

One of the most surprising returns is Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton. The former undrafted free agent rode a strong preseason to a potential starting gig, but he was sidelined with second-degree burns after spilling hot oil on his legs and feet. Kliff Kingsbury previously said an early-October return may be a “little aggressive” (per ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss on Twitter), but the cornerback ended up working his way back to practice.

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.

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.

Lions’ Jerry Jacobs Done For Year

It’s officially official. Lions rookie cornerback Jerry Jacobs has been formally diagnosed with a torn ACL, ending his season after 13 games. The Lions will place Jacobs on the injured reserve list this week as he gets set for knee surgery. 

You feel awful,” head coach Dan Campbell said (via James Hawkins of The Detroit News). “He’s improved so much, particularly from spring just to where he’s been playing lately. Before he got hurt, he had already been doing some good things.”

You don’t want any of your guys to get hurt, particularly one of these long-term injuries. The other thing is I hate that it happened now in December. That’s probably a nine-month injury, somewhere in there. The good news is it’s reparable. He’ll work at it, he’ll come back, and he’ll be better than he was. But you hate it for him and for our team.

Jacobs, an undrafted free agent, managed to start in nine games this season, a touching story in an otherwise trying season for the Lions. He began his unusual path to the pros at Hutchinson Community College before transferring to Arkansas State. Unfortunately, a torn ACL wiped out his 2019 season. He then switched to Arkansas, but mental health issues prompted him to opt out after four games.

This marks yet another challenge for Jacobs, but he has a track record of overcoming whatever life throws at him. For now, he’ll be watching the Lions from home, starting with Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.