As Jim Caldwell promised earlier in the day, the Detroit Lions made several roster moves on Monday. As reported first by the Detroit Free Press, the Lions have indeed ended Tavon Wilson’s season by placing him on injured reserve. Along with the release of Jeremiah Valoaga over the weekend, that left two open spots on the roster.
On Monday, the Lions filled those two spots by signing both safety Rolan Milligan and wide receiver Bradley Marquez from their own practice squad.
Milligan is in his second year in the NFL after going undrafted out of Toledo last year. He joined the Lions back in February, and played in three preseason games, earning seven tackles and one interception along the way. He did not make the 53-man roster but has spent the entire season on Detroit’s practice squad. At 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, Milligan will likely serve as the backup strong safety now that Miles Killebrew will presumably take over Wilson’s spot.
As for Marquez, he was unceremoniously added to the Lions’ practice squad a couple weeks ago. He had previously spent some time on the Los Angeles Rams over the past two and a half season, making 30 game appearances. In that time, Marquez pulled in 16 catches for 125 yards. He was also considered a “special teams standout” with the Rams, and has the short-but-quick profile of a slot receiver.
With those two practice squad spots vacated, the Lions quickly filled the holes with familiar face Jace Billingsley and newbie safety Stefan McClure. It’s interesting to see the Lions add Billingsley to the practice squad instead of re-signing him to the 53-man roster.
As for McClure, this is his third team in two years. In 2017, he made seven game appearances, mostly on special teams. He was later placed on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury. A few days later, McClure agreed upon an injury settlement and was released by the team.
Finally, the Lions announced that guard Joe Dahl will return to practice this week. Dahl had been placed on injured reserve with a lower leg injury after Week 3. His return could be a sign that the Lions will need some help on the interior of their offensive line. Travis Swanson was injured in the game against the Vikings and did not return. Graham Glasgow is expected to take over center duties should Swanson not be able to play. That would leave a hole at left guard in which the Lions temporarily filled with Corey Robinson on Thursday.
With Dahl returning to practice, that means the Lions have used up both opportunities to return a player sent to IR. Earlier in the year, the Lions did the same with Corey Robinson. This means any other player currently on IR, like DT Haloti Ngata, is not eligible to return.
Here’s a quick recap of all of today’s transactions:
Signed to 53-man roster from practice squad:
S Rolan Milligan
WR Bradley Marquez
Signed to practice squad:
WR Jace Billingsley
S Stefan McClure
Placed on injured reserve:
S Tavon Wilson
Returning to practice from IR (not on 53-man roster yet):
G Joe Dahl