Free agent defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois is visiting the Lions today, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). Of course, the two parties know each other quite well, as RJF played in all 16 games for Detroit in 2018 after signing a one-year deal with the club last July.
The Lions traded for Damon Harrison last October and also return A’Shawn Robinson, but they are apparently still on the lookout for experienced depth. Jean-Francois provides just that.
The 32-year-old LSU product entered the league as a seventh-round pick of the 49ers in 2009, and he has managed to carve out a career that most seventh-rounders would envy. Although he has started just 48 of the 137 games he has appeared in, he has established himself as a quality part of a defensive line rotation who can at least hold his own when given meaningful snaps.
This marks the first reported visit that Jean-Francois has taken this offseason. He compiled 30 tackles and two sacks for the Lions last year.
Sankey, a 2016 undrafted free agent out of Sacramento State, has bounced around the league over the past two years. The six-foot-two, 250-pound linebacker has had stints with the Broncos, Raiders, Chiefs, Vikings, Colts, and Ravens. He ended up appearing in six games for Indy last season without compiling a tackle. He’ll joined a crowded Lions depth chart that already has ChristianJones, JonathanFreeny, CamJohnson, TrevorBates, and SteveLonga competing for backup reps.
Benton, a former standout at West Virginia, signed with the Lions as an undrafted free agent back in May. Nunn, an Appalachian State product, also signed with Detroit as an undrafted free agent. With the offensive tackle off the roster, one of CoreyRobinson, BrianMihalik, AdamBisnowaty, and DanSkipper will presumably have a better shot of making the roster.
After meeting with the Lions yesterday, Jean-Francois inked a one-year deal with Detroit. The 31-year-old split last season between the Patriots and Packers, compiling seven total tackles.
Veteran defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois has signed a one-year deal with the Lions, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). RJ-F met with Detroit on Wednesday morning and it did not take long for a deal to come together.
The Lions have been in search of defensive line depth throughout the offseason and Jean-Francois, they hope, will help to sure up their group on the interior. The Lions will start A’Shawn Robinson and Sylvester Williams in the middle, but Jean-Francois will battle for a spot alongside last year’s sixth-round pick Jeremiah Ledbetter and Toby Johnson. The 31-year-old (32 in November) offers nine years of NFL experience while Ledbetter and Johnson have appeared in just 18 games combined.
Veteran defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois will visit with the Lions on Wednesday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Jean-Francois spent last year with the Patriots, so new Lions head coach Matt Patricia is familiar with what he can provide.
RJF spent last season with the Packers and Patriots. The 2009 seventh-round pick was cut twice by Green Bay and even dropped from the roster once by the Pats, but he was re-signed by New England and stayed with the team through their trip to the Super Bowl. All in all, he had 12 tackles in 12 games between the two clubs.
Jean-Francois comes to Detroit after spending last season with the Packers and Patriots. The 2009 seventh-round pick was cut twice by Green Bay and even dropped from the roster once by the Pats, but he was re-signed by New England and stayed with the team through their trip to the Super Bowl. All in all, he had 12 tackles in 12 games between the two clubs.
In a statement released by his agency earlier this month, RJ-F indicated that he hopes to continue playing for a few more years.
“I plan on continuing to play at the highest level,” the 31-year-old (32 in November) said. “Hopefully I made a strong case for myself this past season. I did absolutely everything I could to help the Patriots during my short time there, and I learned that playbook immediately. It takes a special type of player and discipline to do that so quickly. My priority right now is to find a stable home where I can step in and make a similar impact for a few more seasons before I ride off into the sunset.”
The Lions are scouring the defensive tackle market. They’re expected to bring in free agents Johnathan Hankins and Alan Branch for visits and former Titans defensive tackle Sylvester Williams is also on their radar, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Meanwhile, they’re working on a deal with former Pats defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
The Lions project to start A’Shawn Robinson and Akeem Spence on the interior defensive line, but they’re a little thin in support. Last year’s sixth-round pick Jeremiah Ledbetter and former UDFA Toby Johnson are the only other DTs on the roster as of this writing. It’s possible that the Lions will look to sign two or more of the aforementioned quartet of free agent defensive tackles to pad out the depth chart.
Given GM Bob Quinn‘s ties to the Patriots, Jean-Francois would be a logical signing for Detroit. Hankins, meanwhile, might be the most intriguing talent of the bunch given his success in the Giants’ 4-3 scheme from 2013-2016. Last year, he also performed well in the Colts’ 3-4 defense.
Matt Patricia is looking to add some of his former Patriots defenders. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois visited with the Lions earlier today.
While Detroit’s new head coach may have interest in the defender, it doesn’t sound like New England is interested in retaining him. We heard last week that the Patriots likely wouldn’t be re-signing the 31-year-old.
The 2009 seventh-round pick was cut twice by the Packers last year before landing with New England. The Patriots also released him, but he quickly re-signed and remained with the club through their trip to the Super Bowl. The nine-year veteran ultimately finished the season with 10 tackles in six games for New England (he had another two tackles in six games with Green Bay).
Last week, the free agent said he was hoping his improvement in New England may help him generate some suitors this offseason.
“I plan on continuing to play at the highest level,” Jean-Francois said in a statement released through his PF agency (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss). “Hopefully I made a strong case for myself this past season. I did absolutely everything I could to help the Patriots during my short time there, and I learned that playbook immediately. It takes a special type of player and discipline to do that so quickly. My priority right now is to find a stable home where I can step in and make a similar impact for a few more seasons before I ride off into the sunset.”
It sounds like Ricky Jean-Francois won’t be back with the Patriots next season. The defensive tackle released a statement on Friday indicating that he won’t be re-signed by New England.
“I plan on continuing to play at the highest level,” Jean-Francois said in a statement released through his PF agency (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss). “Hopefully I made a strong case for myself this past season. I did absolutely everything I could to help the Patriots during my short time there, and I learned that playbook immediately. It takes a special type of player and discipline to do that so quickly. My priority right now is to find a stable home where I can step in and make a similar impact for a few more seasons before I ride off into the sunset. … I’d like to thank Robert Kraft, Coach Belichick, Coach Patricia and the Patriots front office for allowing me to be a part of something that not a lot of players get the opportunity to do – play for the New England Patriots. Playing in Foxboro made me appreciate this game a lot more. Thank you to everyone there for giving me a great experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Jean-Francois was cut twice by the Packers last year before hooking on with the Pats in November. New England also released him weeks later, but he was quickly re-signed and stayed with the club through their trip to the Super Bowl. Francois appeared at both defensive end and nose tackle for the Pats in the playoffs as he totaled six tackles and one sack.
December 13th, 2017 at 1:14pm CST by Zachary Links
The Patriots have signed former Browns wide receiver Kenny Brittto a two-year deal, as first reported by Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The team confirmed the move in a press release on Wednesday.
Britt visited the Pats on Tuesday and it didn’t take long for the two sides to get down to brass tacks. Rapoport hears that New England was Britt’s preferred landing spot.
The Patriots stood out as a strong contender to land Britt after he cleared waivers. After all, the Patriots have an affinity for ex-Rutgers players (likely fueled by their connection to former RU head coach Greg Schiano) and they have a clear need at receiver with multiple injuries in that unit.
Bill Belichick also has a track record for getting the most out of players with perceived attitude problems. Back in 2007, many in the football world figured that Randy Moss‘ best days were behind him after a rocky stint in Oakland. For the low price of a fourth-round pick, the Patriots wound up with one of the game’s most lethal offensive weapons. Britt does not have the talent of Moss in his prime, but he has demonstrated game-breaking ability in the past. Britt was an abject bust for the Browns, and an expensive one at that. Still, he’s just one year removed from a 1,000+ yard campaign with the Rams.
The Patriots, who fell to 10-3 after being upset by Miami, are seeking to lock down a first-round bye in the final three games of the season. Meanwhile, Britt’s former team continues to look for its first win of the 2017 season.
The Patriots’ pre-Week 13 roster rearrangement included more Ricky Jean-Francois transactions in what’s been a busy 2017 for the veteran defender.
New England waived Jean-Francois on Saturday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The Pats also cut offensive lineman Jason King. These moves will clear roster spots for defensive end Geneo Grissom and wide receiver Bernard Reedy, both of whom will join the 53-man roster from the Pats’ practice squad.
Three teams have now cut Jean-Francois in 2017. The Patriots acquired him after the Packers parted ways with him, with Jean-Francois only making his way to Green Bay after his Washington tenure concluded with an offseason release.
He’s now on waivers. The 31-year-old defensive lineman played in two games for the Patriots after seeing time in just one contest with the Packers this season. He has three tackles this year, one that’s featured far less participation compared to his age-30 campaign. Jean-Francois played in 16 Redskins games in 2016 and started in seven.
Reedy caught on with the Patriots’ practice squad last week after the Bucs ended his lengthy Tampa Bay stay earlier this month. Despite being with the Bucs since the 2015 season, the former 2014 UDFA only saw action in 2017. A 2015 third-round Pats pick, Grissom’s played in four games this season after serving as a backup presence for most of the 2015 and ’16 slates.