Earlier in the day, Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia announced that Steve Longa was headed to injured reserve. With a spot open on the roster, Patricia didn’t divulge who will fill in, but promised all would be made clear soon. Later on Monday, the Lions announced several roster moves.
First, they made the expected move of signing cornerback Sterling Moore, which was hinted at by his agent on Sunday night.
Moore is a former Patriots cornerback who made an impression with New England in his rookie year back in 2011. He made the game-saving play in the AFC Championship game as an undrafted rookie, earning high praise from Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
From there, however, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for Moore. The SMU product has jumped to the Cowboys, Buccaneers, Bills and Saints in the past seven years, tallying just four interceptions in 61 game appearances. His best season came in 2016 as a starter for the New Orleans Saints. In 13 games (12 starts), Moore tallied 56 tackles, two interceptions, 13 passes defended and a PFF grade of 72.3—earning him a place among the top 10 free agent cornerbacks list in 2017.
Moore is a guy with positional versatility, able to line up both on the outside and inside. He even entered the league as a safety. And perhaps his biggest asset is his familiarity with head coach Matt Patricia, who clearly saw something in Moore during his two seasons in New England.
But the Lions weren’t done. Perhaps their more shocking move was cutting defensive end Cornelius Washington.
Signed to a two-year deal, $5.8 million deal last offseason, Washington failed to make much of an impact in his first year with Detroit. Starting just two games, Washington only had 24 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2017. His play was so poor at one point that he was a healthy scratch against the New Orleans Saints.
With the Lions expected to show more three-man fronts, Washington wasn’t exactly the best of fits anymore, and the Lions are apparently happier with the versatility that guys like Devon Kennard, Kerry Hyder and Anthony Zettel bring.
Perhaps most notably, the Lions save $2.7 million in cap space by releasing Washington.
The Lions also released cornerback Antwuan Davis Monday morning.
With the two extra spots, the Lions added help on both side of the ball: offensive lineman Beau Nunn and cornerback Dexter McDougle.
This is already Nunn’s second time on the Lions’ roster this year, as the team signed him as an undrafted rookie out of Appalachian State back in May. He was cut just before the start of training camp.
As for Dexter McDougle, he’ll joint Sterling Moore in a crowded defensive back room. McDougle is a former third-round pick who has jumped from the Jets to the Eagles to the Saints since joining the league in 2014. He spent all this offseason with the Jacksonville Jaguars before being cut last week.
Despite his high draft status, McDougle has never started an NFL game and he only has one pass defended and 13 tackles in 29 game appearances. He’ll have a tough road to make the Lions’ final 53-man roster, especially now that he’s joining the team so late in the preseason process.
So to recap:
- CB Sterling Moore
- CB Dexter McDougle
- OL Beau Nunn
- LB Steve Longa (IR)
- DE Cornelius Washington (released)
- CB Antwuan Davis (waived)