NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo is reporting that unrestricted free agent Darren Fells is visiting the Detroit Lions and “is exploring a return to Detroit, where he played in 2017”.
During his one year in Detroit, while playing a complementary role to Eric Ebron, Fells caught 17 balls for 177 yards and three touchdowns. After the season he signed a one-year deal with the Browns, then moved onto Houston, where he spent the last two seasons with the Texans. Over that time in Houston, he registered 55 receptions for 653 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Lions have a solid one-two punch at tight end with T.J. Hockenson and Josh Hill, but with Hunter Bryant converting to the reserve/NFI list last week, they are very much in the market for another NFL-level tight end. Hockenson is the clear number one option at the position but Hill’s value is in his ability to be flexible, which leaves the door wide open for a player like Fells to take on a significant role with the Lions.
After drafting and signing 20 rookies over the weekend, plus reportedly signing long snapper Scott Daly, the Lions roster is at 86 players, leaving them four open spots to fill before they hit the 90-man maximum allowed for this time of year.
UPDATE: Per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Lions tight end Josh Hill is retiring. Suddenly the Lions’ need for a tight end is much more pressing.