The Detroit Lions announced on Friday afternoon that their trade with the New England Patriots has been nullified and tight end Michael Roberts reverted back to the Lions’ roster. As a result, Detroit has simply waived the tight end, putting him up for grabs for the 31 other teams.
It’s unclear what exactly caused the trade to be nixed—sometimes it’s a failed physical—but the Lions did not offer a reason. The conditional seventh-round pick the Lions were set to receive from the Patriots is now gone, and Detroit will not receive any compensatory pick since they have willingly cut Roberts.
On Thursday, head coach Matt Patricia said the opportunity to get a future draft pick made the Roberts trade too good to pass up.
“We had an opportunity to move on from Mike and hopefully, potentially, get something in the future for it,” Patricia said. “So, it was a good opportunity for us as a team to do that and to build our team long term.”
But it’s clear there was more going on here. The Lions simply were happy with their tight end depth as it is, and were ready to give Roberts an opportunity elsewhere.
As for Roberts, he is now on waivers and teams will be able to put in a claim for him. Waiver priority is currently the same as the 2019 NFL Draft order, meaning the Arizona Cardinals will have first crack at him. The Patriots, if still interested in acquiring Roberts, will only be awarded him if every other team in the league passes.
UPDATE: According to the Boston Globe, Roberts failed his physical in New England. Although Roberts didn’t appear to be limited during Lions OTAs, he did have shoulder surgery late last year.