Josh Paschal

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 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 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.

Unsigned Second-Rounders Pushing For Additional Guarantees

While all 32 first-round picks have signed their rookie contracts, most of the players chosen just after this group have not. The first player in this draft sector to sign — Texans safety Jalen Pitre, the No. 37 overall pick — has created an issue for other teams to navigate.

Only 17 of this year’s 32 second-round picks have signed their four-year deals. That includes just two of the first 11 players chosen in the round. Pitre receiving three fully guaranteed years on his deal looks to have led to the slowdown here, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes.

The NFLPA has made steady gains on the guaranteed front. Last year, only seven second-rounders received even a partial Year 3 salary guarantee. Only the first two picks in that round — the Jaguars’ Tyson Campbell and the Jets’ Elijah Moore — secured three fully guaranteed years. Last year’s No. 37 overall pick (Eagles guard Landon Dickerson) received only 40.72% of his third year guaranteed, Dan Graziano of tweets. Pitre’s 100% guaranteed has almost certainly called for the players drafted in that vicinity to ask for the same setup.

Titans cornerback Roger McCreary (No. 35), Jets running back Breece Hall (No. 36) and Falcons edge rusher Arnold Ebiketie (No. 38) are unsigned. Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon (No. 39), however, did agree on his rookie deal. How Chicago sorted his guarantees should have an impact on the unsigned players shortly after that draft slot (Seahawks edge Boye Mafe, Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker Jr., Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth and Giants wideout Wan’Dale Robinson). The Texans gave No. 44 overall pick John Metchie two years fully guaranteed and 56% of third year guaranteed. No. 46 overall pick Josh Paschal received a partial third year guaranteed, Jeremy Fowler of tweets. Only seven second-rounders saw any third-year guarantees last year.

The Texans can be credited with injecting some drama into a fairly routine process, and Pitre’s three guaranteed years illustrates the gains the players’ side has made since the 2011 draft reshaped rookie contracts. Only 21 first-rounders that year received fully guaranteed deals. This year, all 32 did. Every second-rounder should also receive two fully guaranteed years, with the Broncos doing so for the final pick in that round — edge Nik Bonitto.

Lions Sign DE Josh Paschal, Wrap Draft Class

The Lions made a clear effort to upgrade at defensive end in the draft. The second of those pass rushers added is now under contract, wrapping up the draft pick-signing portion of Detroit’s offseason.

Second-round pick Josh Paschal signed his four-year rookie contract Friday. This comes weeks after the Lions inked Aidan Hutchinson to his four-year pact (feat. the fifth-year option).

As the No. 46 overall pick, Paschal will be in line to see a hefty portion of his rookie deal guaranteed. Every first-round pick thus far has received a fully guaranteed deal, with a handful to start the second round receiving three years fully guaranteed. No. 44 overall pick John Metchie received two years fully guaranteed and 56% of his third-year salary locked in at signing. Paschal’s camp likely pushed for a similar setup.

A Kentucky product, Paschal did not put up big sack numbers in the SEC. He registered 13 in five seasons with the Wildcats, topping out at five last year. The 268-pound performer did post 15 tackles for loss last year and has contributed as an inside pass rusher as well. Paschal and Hutchinson join a Lions defensive line housing pass rushers Michael Brockers, Romeo and Julian Okwara. The Lions, who cut Trey Flowers after three seasons, will certainly lean on Hutchinson this season. How much Paschal contributes remains to be seen.

Here is the Lions’ 2022 draft class:

Round 1: No. 2 Aidan Hutchinson, DE (Michigan) (signed)
Round 1: No. 12 (from Vikings) Jameson Williams, WR (Alabama) (signed)
Round 2: No. 46 (from Vikings) Josh Paschal, DE (Kentucky) (signed)
Round 3: No. 97 Kerby Joseph, S (Illinois) (signed)
Round 5: No. 177 James Mitchell, TE (Virginia Tech) (signed)
Round 6: No. 188 (from Seahawks through Jaguars and Eagles) Malcolm Rodriguez, LB (Oklahoma State) (signed)
Round 6: No. 217 James Houston, DE (Jackson State) (signed)
Round 7: No. 237 (from Saints through Eagles) Chase Lucas, CB (Arizona State) (signed)