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Report: Detroit Lions to sign TE Darren Fells

The Lions quickly find a replacement for Josh Hill by bringing back Darren Fells

Carolina Panthers v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Less than 24 hours after it was reported that tight end Josh Hill would be retiring, the Detroit Lions flew in Darren Fells for a visit and per Dave Birkett of the Free Press, they have signed him to a new contract. Fells, who spent 2017 with the Lions, should immediately settle into a TE2 role in 2021.

The Lions made an effort to re-sign Fells in the 2018 offseason but he opted for a larger contract with the Cleveland Browns. He started 11 games for the Browns that season but only recorded 11 catches for 117 yards and three touchdowns.

He left Cleveland for Houston in 2019 and has been a starter for the Texans the last two seasons. Over that time, Fells started 28 games, recording 55 receptions for 653 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He’s not a dominating player, but he is a reliable weapon on offense because of his above-average blocking skills—both in the passing and run game—and as a red-zone target. He averages a touchdown every 4.71 receptions.

Fells—6-foot-7, 281 pounds—has the ability to play in-line, which will allow the Lions to put Pro Bowler T.J Hockenson into more advantageous situations where he can be utilized as an offensive weapon.

Adding Fells now brings the Lions roster total up to 87 players, meaning they can still add three more free agents before they hit the maximum 90 man roster limit.