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Detroit Lions 2016 roster review: Jon Bostic, or the linebacker that never was

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At a position where the Lions were sorely lacking depth, an injury prevented Bostic from providing any help.

Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Now that we’re in full offseason mode, we’re going to review every single Detroit Lions player that finished the 2016 season under contract. We’ll look at their expectations coming into the season, whether they met those expectations and what to expect of them going forward. We will begin with the upcoming free agents, as they are the most intriguing and time sensitive.

Jon Bostic

Expectations before 2016

Directly above what text you’re currently reading is a picture of Jon Bostic tackling, or attempting to tackle Joique Bell. Some things are important to note about this image, and semi-interesting. First, this is one of the most recent images available to use of Bostic, and it’s from the 2014 season. Both of the players in the image have been rostered by each team represented in the shot. Okay, I lied, this isn’t interesting at all.

Bostic, the one donning a Bears’ jersey above, was on his third team in as many years after the Lions traded for him from the Patriots—where he made a pit stop in 2015—during the 2016 offseason. He was one of the few moves Quinn made to improve the depth at linebacker, but a foot injury jeopardized Bostic’s availability for the season.

Actual role in 2016

2016 stats: N/A

The biggest storyline surrounding Bostic was whether or not he would be the player the Lions would designate to return from IR during the season. At first, the timeline for rehabbing the specific injury to his foot suggested it would take him anywhere between 6-12 weeks. Mind you, this injury was suffered in the Lions-Steelers joint practice prior to their first preseason game, so it seemed likely Bostic could be ready to return to action should the team decide to use their one and only designation to return from IR.

It never happened. Detroit was left scrambling to put upright bodies at linebacker and the defense suffered greatly for it.

Outlook for 2017

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent

When the Lions traded a conditional seventh-round pick in 2017 for Bostic, it was clear the team felt he would provide something more than another player they could bring in off the street. But with Bostic not playing, it’s safe to assume those conditions for the pick to swap teams in April were not met. Considering Bostic never returned to action, this raises further question marks about the condition his foot is in, and makes it seem more than likely Bostic doesn’t return to Detroit for the 2017 season.

Previously profiled Lions: Riley Reiff, Anquan Boldin, Dan Orlovsky, Devin Taylor, Rafael Bush, Don Muhlbach, Larry Warford, Andre Roberts, TJ Jones, Kerry Hyder