The Detroit Lions made a somewhat surprising move the day before their face-off against the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving. The team announced they have promoted quarterback Jake Rudock from the practice squad to the active roster.
The move comes on the tail of Detroit waiving wide receiver Corey Fuller on Tuesday, leaving an open spot on the active roster. Some speculated that Brandon Pettigrew may take the over the roster spot, or that the Lions were simply preparing the spot for when Armonty Bryant’s suspension was over. However, it appears the Lions were making room for Rudock, their third string quarterback, instead.
The obvious question is why? Rudock is almost certainly going to be inactive on game day, so why bother wasting a roster spot on someone who isn’t going to play? As Kyle Meinke notes, it could be a move to protect Rudock from getting poached by another team. Teams are free to sign any player off of another team’s practice squad, provided that they sign them to their active 53-man roster.
A team like the Chicago Bears could be searching for some young quarterback talent now that it appears Jay Cutler’s season, and perhaps career, is over in Chicago. By signing Rudock to the active roster, he is untouchable by any other team. Rudock was drafted in the sixth round last April.
UPDATE: Dave Birkett confirms it was the Bears that tried to sign Rudock:
The Chicago Bears are the team that tried to sign Jake Rudock. Lions didn't want to lose him, obviously.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) November 23, 2016