As preparation for training camp continues, the Lions made quite a few changes to their roster today, headlined by the signing of free agent cornerback William James. The Lions also confirmed that they have signed draft picks DeAndre Levy and Lydon Murtha. To make room on the roster for the three players, running back Antone Smith, defensive end Rudolph Hardie, and safety Tra Battle were released.
Will James, who actually played for the University of Michigan for two years (then as Will Peterson), was a member of the Jaguars, so I'm guessing James Harris is behind this move. Jacksonville released James in June, and the Lions brought him in for a workout yesterday. 24 hours or so later, he became a Lion.
James is entering his ninth season in the NFL, and the Lions are his fifth team. He started out as a New York Giant in 2001 and joined the Eagles in 2006. James spent only two seasons in Philadelphia, as he became a Bill during the offseason a year ago. After being released during the final round of roster cuts, he joined the Jaguars, where he played in 8 games. On average, he has only played in around 9.5 games a season. That is mainly due to him playing in only 10 games combined in 2003, 2005, and 2006, but the last two years he has played in 22 total games.
On top of signing James, the two draft picks, and releasing three players, the Lions also brought in quarterbacks Cleo Lemon, Brooks Bollinger, and Craig Nall for a workout. Before training camp begins, the Lions obviously want to make sure that there isn't a free agent backup QB they have missed out on. I expect them to stick with Drew Stanton as the third-string QB, but the Lions may very well see a need to add a player to the competition.