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Detroit Lions sign WR Chad Hansen, waive UDFA WR Jonathan Adams

Lions swap reserve wide receivers, opting for a veteran over a UDFA.

NFL: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions have completed their Spring OTAs and after assessing their roster, they have begun making some adjustments.

After signing rookie Levi Onwuzurike, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Derrick Barnes on Thursday, the Lions announced that they have waived UDFA rookie WR Jonathan Adams Jr. and signed WR Chad Hansen.

Hansen played his college football at Idaho State and the University of California, where he caught passes from Lions’ QB Jared Goff during the 2015 season. The pair connected on 19 receptions for 249 yards and a touchdown over 10 games played.

In 2016 Hansen had a breakout season—92 receptions for 1,249 yards and 11 touchdowns—for the Cal Bears and opted to leave early for the NFL. He was selected by the New York Jets in the fourth round (pick No. 141 overall) of the 2017 NFL draft. During his rookie season, Hansen caught nine passes for 94 yards over 15 games and was released in the 2018 offseason at cut downs.

The New England Patriots claimed him but he only lasted a week on their roster before he was released. Next, he signed with the Tennessee Titans practice squad but again only lasted a short time before exiting and moving on to the Denver Broncos practice squad. He signed a futures deal with the Broncos but was waived in the offseason. Hansen would sign with the New Orleans Saints for the 2019 summer months, but couldn’t settle in before being released.

In 2019, the Houston Texans claimed him and while he was released at cut downs, he earned a spot on their practice squad. The pattern repeated itself in 2020, waived at cutdowns and signed to the practice squad, but when Will Fuller was suspended in December, Hansen used this opportunity to get another shot at the regular season.

Hansen was elevated to the active roster twice as part of the NFL's new COVID practice squad elevation rules and signed to the active roster for the final three games of the season. During those five games, Hansen made 17 receptions for 236 yards and a touchdown, including a five-catch 101-yard outing in Week 13.

“He can go up there and make contested catches, he’s going to be where he needs to be and he’s going to catch the ball,” Texans QB DeShaun Watson told reporters. “He’s going to compete. That’s the biggest thing. We’ve got guys that’s going to compete and that care about winning, that care about the success of the team. That’s what Chad (Hansen) is all about. He cares about the team. He doesn’t say much. He just goes to work each and every day. Anything that we ask him to do, he’s going to do it full speed and he’s going to go out there and do whatever he can to help us win.”

Hansen (6-2, 202 pounds) saw most of his snaps on the outside in a Houston, but he does have the ability to line up in the slot. In Detroit, he will compete for a roster spot with similar stylistic players like Quintez Cephus, Geronimo Allison, Sage Surratt, and Javon McKinley.

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