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Wide receiver Andre Roberts signs with the Atlanta Falcons

The Lions special teams return man will not be back in Detroit in 2017.

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Although his kickoff returns left plenty to be desired, Lions wide receiver Andre Roberts was a critical part of the Lions special teams, a unit that ranked sixth in DVOA in 2016. He was the go-to man on punt returns and could be expected to contribute on offense in spots, showing up now and then with a critical reception.

The Lions will need to replace that, as news broke in the early hours of Tuesday that Andre Roberts had found a new home with the Atlanta Falcons:

Roberts is guaranteed to make $750,000 with the Falcons. In 2016 he made $760,000 with the Detroit Lions, all in base salary.

Although Roberts is departing, the competition for punt and kickoff return duties looks to remain heated when the team rejoins in 2017. The Lions signed Keshawn Martin over the weekend, ostensibly to replace Andre Roberts’ role on the current roster. However, Martin will probably still have to compete for the position once filled by Roberts.