The Detroit Lions are traveling to Chicago for a Week 4 game against the Bears, but their kicker Austin Seibert remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list, which has prompted the team to elevate kicker Ryan Santoso to the active roster as a COVID-19 replacement.
This is the second week in a row that Santoso has had to fill in for Seibert while he progresses through the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols.
Last week against the Baltimore Ravens, Santoso successfully kicked two extra points, and then nailed a 35-yard field goal with 1:08 remaining in the game, giving the Lions a one-point lead at the time. In the two games prior, Seibert connected on three extra points, as well as field goals from 43 and 49 yards, although he did miss from 51 yards in Week 1.
The fact that the Lions haven’t signed Santoso to the active roster is a good sign they’re not ready to give up on Seibert, but if Santoso continues to look good, this may turn into a full-on kicker battle when Seibert returns.
While on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Seibert technically doesn't count against the Lions' active roster (meaning they are one short of the maximum 53-players), but with the ability to use a roster elevation, there is no rush to push the situation. Plus, using a roster elevation instead of signing Santoso to the open roster spot, also helps minimize the impact on the salary cap.