At an impromptu Thursday press conference to discuss LB Jamie Collins being on the trade block, Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell announced that the team was signing LB Josh Woods off the Chicago Bears practice squad. The team has not officially announced the move, so there is no corresponding move at the time of publishing.
UPDATE: The Lions have placed WR Tyrell Williams on injured reserve as a corresponding move.
“We also signed Josh Woods,” Campbell said. “We got him from the practice squad of Chicago. So there’s a chance he comes in and helps us on special teams right now. He also provides depth at linebacker.”
Woods went undrafted out of Maryland in 2018, where he played strong safety, but after a position switch and a tryout with the team, he impressed enough to earn a contract. He would not make the roster that year but did spend that season on the Bears' practice squad.
In 2019, the Bears hired Mark DeLeone as their inside linebackers coach (he currently holds the same position with the Lions), and Woods—who added 30 pounds to help the position switch—developed well enough to make the Bears’ 53-man roster. He would go on to play in nine games that season and 15 more in 2020, mainly as a special teamer. Woods earned an 89.4 special teams grade from PFF last season.
Woods made the Bears’ initial 53-man roster in 2021, but was waived in order for Chicago to make room for former Lions WR Breshad Perriman, and was signed to their practice squad after clearing waivers. Woods was elevated to the active roster for the Bears Week 1 matchup but reverted back to the practice squad, where he remained until the Lions signed him today.
With Collins all but gone from Detroit, the Lions will see some shifting amongst their linebacking core. Rookie Derrick Barnes is expected to be inserted into the starting lineup next to Alex Anzalone, with special teams weapon Jalen Reeves-Maybin expected to see more opportunities as well. Anthony Pittman and Woods round out the active roster at linebacker, but both are primarily special teamers at this time. Additionally, UDFA rookie Tavante Beckett is still developing on the practice squad, but he needs more time before he will be ready to contribute.