Saivion Smith

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.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/19/22

Today’s practice squad moves:

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Latest On Lions CBs Saivion Smith, Amani Oruwariye

The Lions’ Week 5 contest resulted in a lopsided defeat against the Patriots, but also a number of questions related to their cornerbacks room. Most notably, Saivion Smith was taken off the field by an ambulance, after he suffered a potential neck injury. 

Smith went down after engaging with Patriots tight end Hunter Henry. The contact on the play was relatively minimal, but caused him to be taken to hospital for further evaluation (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero). Fortunately, head coach Dan Campbell said after the game that Smith has full movement in his extremities. As a result, he is hopeful Smith will be able to accompany the team on the flight home, per Justin Rodgers of the Detroit News (Twitter link).

A former UDFA, Smith made six appearances with the Cowboys last season, including one start. He has since split time between the 49ers and Lions. He had yet to make a tackle before suffering the injury, something which was also true of another, much more prominent member of Detroit’s secondary.

Amani Oruwariye was a healthy scratch, as noted by Rodgers prior to kickoff. The move came as a surprise, given his status as a starting outside corner and the highly-productive start to his career. With six interceptions in 2021, the former fifth-rounder emerged as a key part of the Lions’ defense, and put himself on the radar for a new deal. Heading into a contract year, he was reported to be a player the team was giving serious thought to extending.

However, Oruwariye lacked the ball production he had put up last season, with just a pair of pass deflections to date. That, coupled with Campbell’s stated intention of a shakeup regarding defensive personnel, shed light on the reasoning behind the decision. Will Harris filled in for Oruwariye, who represents a poor option as a backup on gamedays since he does not play on special teams.

Having lost 29-0 to a Patriots team missing each of its top two quarterbacks, more changes are likely to be made on the Lions’ defense, which was already the league’s lowest-rated before the game. For very different reasons, the time at which Smith and Oruwariye return to the field will be worth watching.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/8/22

Here are the roster moves for today, leading into gameday tomorrow. Reminder that gameday elevations will revert to the practice squad after this weekend’s games:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC North

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BearsLions, Packers and Vikings moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Chicago Bears

Claimed:

Released:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Detroit Lions

Claimed:

Waived:

Released from IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Green Bay Packers

Signed:

Waived: 

Signed to practice squad:

Minnesota Vikings

Waived:

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:

Released:

Waived:

Waived/injured:

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.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/29/22

Teams have until 3pm Tuesday to slash their rosters from 80 to 53 players. Here are the Monday moves teams are making en route to doing so. The list will be updated throughout the day.

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/10/22

A bunch of teams had their seasons come to an end yesterday, and these front offices are now starting to prepare for the offseason. Today, a number of players were inked to reserve/futures contracts, which allows organizations to retain (mostly) young, practice squad players throughout the offseason. We’ve compiled today’s reserve/futures contracts below:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 1/8/22

Today’s taxi squad moves:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/6/22

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots