A lot didn’t go right for the Detroit Lions in Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. For most of the game, the defense was getting gashed by Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ running game. Detroit, once again, couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Lions receivers didn’t get much separation from Falcons defenders, while Matthew Stafford struggled to find time to make plays behind a poor offensive line.
But one problem reared its ugly head late on Sunday, and it seems to be a common occurrence during the most inconvenient times. Eric Ebron dropped two key passes late in the fourth quarter, causing three-and-outs on back-to-back drives when Detroit was seeking to take the lead.
Through three games, Ebron has just nine catches, 60 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets. For a player that was expected to have a breakout year (for the third season in a row), there’s no other way to interpret those numbers than a pretty big disappointment.
Earlier in the year, the Lions exercised Ebron’s fifth-year option, locking him up through the 2018 season. However, none of the money in Ebron’s fifth year is guaranteed, meaning Detroit could theoretically cut or trade him in the offseason without any cost to the team. So today’s Question of the Day is:
Should the Lions keep Eric Ebron around after the end of the 2017 season?
My answer: It’s too early to make that judgement. At this point, sample sizes are too small to conclude that Ebron isn’t, and never will be, a significant part of this offense.
That being said, this is a prove-it year for Ebron and could potentially result in a multi-year contract extension. He’s going to have to really explode in the next few months to undo the damage he has already done to his reputation.
The way things are currently going, Ebron could certainly be headed elsewhere in 2018. Detroit does have rookie Michael Roberts waiting in the wings, however he has yet to earn enough playing time to even see a single pass thrown his way.
It’s unclear how much Ebron’s fifth-year option is worth. Some publications have it as $5.2 million, others have it at $8.25 million. Either way, Ebron isn’t currently living up to those numbers. However, it is really early in the season, and there’s no reason to overreact, even if some of these problems with Ebron are consistent with the way he has played his entire career. A lot can change in three months in the NFL.
What should the Lions do with Eric Ebron?
This poll is closed
Cut/Trade him immediately
Cut/Trade him at the end of the year
Keep him in 2018, decide fate later
Re-evaluate at the end of the 2017 season