Atkins was in line to potentially be the team’s backup nose tackle behind free agent addition Danny Shelton. Last year, Atkins played that role behind Damon Harrison Sr. He logged 409 snaps in 12 game appearances, with 20 combined tackles over that time. Atkins, 27 years old, has just been in the NFL two seasons after going undrafted in 2018 following a career at Georgia.
At this point, Atkins has not made a public statement addressing the news.
This offseason, the Lions drafted another potential nose tackle in John Penisini with their sixth-round pick. With Atkins out of the picture, Penisini will likely compete with Olive Sagapolu, who signed a futures deal back at the end of 2019, for the backup job behind Shelton.