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Former Lions tight end Levine Toilolo signing with 49ers

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The Lions won’t be re-signing Toilolo, as expected.

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Detroit Lions free agents. Last Friday, Ezekiel Ansah signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks. A day prior, the Seahawks added former Lions fullback/linebacker Nick Bellore.

Now a third Lions free agent will be moving to the NFC West. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, tight end Levine Toilolo is headed to the San Francisco 49ers.

Toilolo quickly emerged in 2018 as the Lions’ best tight end. Not only did he lead the Lions with 21 catches and 263 yards, but he was valuable as a blocker as well, grading as out as Pro Football Focus’ best pass-blocking tight end last season.

But it was clear the Lions were ready to move on from last year’s tight end crew. Detroit went out and signed Jesse James in the opening days of free agency and followed that up with T.J. Hockenson in the first round of the draft. While Toilolo could have provided adequate depth, he may get a better chance at playing time in San Francisco, even behind George Kittle, Garrett Celek, and sixth-round rookie Kaden Smith.

Like the Ansah and Bellore departures, Toilolo will not count towards the Lions’ compensatory pick formula because he signed so late into the offseason. Detroit is not expected to have any compensatory picks in 2020.