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Lions claim QB Brad Kaaya, sign OT Bryce Harris, cut 3 defensive linemen

The Lions re-claimed their sixth-round draft pick, while letting go two defensive linemen.

New York Jets v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions and Bob Quinn kept busy during their bye week. On Wednesday, they signed defensive end Jacquies Smithas previously reported here—claimed quarterback Brad Kaaya off of waivers and signed offensive tackle Bryce Harris.

Kaaya is back after being drafted by the Lions in the sixth round this year. The Lions waived Kaaya as part of their cuts down to 53 back in September. The plan was to bring Kaaya back on their practice squad, but Kaaya was claimed by the Carolina Panthers. However, the Panthers decided this week to promote quarterback Garrett Gilbert from their practice squad and waive Kaaya.

So Kaaya rejoins the Lions, but now he is part of their 53-man roster. This is the first time the Lions have had three quarterbacks on their regular-season roster since they promoted Jake Rudock from the practice squad late last year to prevent the Chicago Bears from poaching him.

Matthew Stafford sat out of Tuesday’s practice after getting beat up in the Saints game. Last week, Stafford was listed on the injury report with an ankle injury. There’s no indication that Stafford may miss time, but Tuesday’s practice was the first in-season practice Stafford has missed since 2012.

Bryce Harris joins the Lions’ offensive line group that is currently dealing with a hefty load of injuries. Greg Robinson, Emmett Cleary and Rick Wagner all missed time in Sunday’s game. Cleary was seen in a walking boot after the game, and Robinson had his ankle heavily taped, suggesting that the Lions may, again, be without a left tackle.

Since joining the league in 2012, Harris has made 35 game appearances (four starts), mostly with the Saints. He made his last start in the final week of the 2014 season as New Orleans’ left tackle.

To make room for Jones, Kaaya, and Harris, the Lions released three defensive lineman: George Johnson, Datone Jones and Caraun Reid. The Lions brought back Johnson a month ago and the veteran played in the past four game. Johnson was largely ineffective, managing just two tackles in 81 total snaps.

Datone Jones was cut before even playing a game for the Lions. Detroit signed the former first-round pick last week in the wake of the Haloti Ngata injury, but did not activate him for Sunday’s game against the Saints, rolling with the familiar Caraun Reid instead. Now both are looking for new jobs.

Here’s a quick look at their defensive line as it currently stands:

DE Ezekiel Ansah
DE Anthony Zettel
DE Jacquies Smith
DE Jeremiah Valoaga
DE Cornelius Washington

DT A’Shawn Robinson
DT Akeem Spence
DT Jeremiah Ledbetter

It would seem the Lions need another defensive tackle on their roster, but Khyri Thornton is now eligible to return from his six-game suspension stemming from a violation of the NFL substance abuse policy. We’ll see if the Lions decide to activate him or shuffle the roster elsewhere.