The Detroit Lions have made three roster moves ahead of their Week 9 matchup with the Green Bay Packers, signing wide receiver Stanley Berryhill to the active roster, and elevating tight end Shane Zylstra, as well as his brother wide receiver Brandon Zylstra from the practice squad.
Following the trade of T.J. Hockenson, the Lions were left with only two tight ends on the active roster, Brock Wright (concussion, questionable) and rookie James Mitchell. The elevation of Shane Zylstra was anticipated in order to round out the unit. This is Shane’s first elevation of the season—players are eligible three per year—but he did make the team’s initial 53-man roster and was active the first three weeks of the season. He did not record any stats.
The Lions added wide receivers Berryhill and Brandon Zylstra for depth to a banged-up wide receiver group, bringing their total up to six players, which is typically the number the Lions prefer to enter a game with. However, starter Josh Reynolds is dealing with a back injury and carries a doubtful designation into this weekend’s game. Reynolds said he was “hopeful” to play against the Packers, and while not being downgraded on Saturday is a positive sign, he still likely needs to pass some medical tests ahead of Sunday’s game.
Last week, Berryhill was elevated—his first of the season—and while he did not record an offensive snap, he was one of the team’s starting gunners on special teams. This is Brandon Zylstra’s second elevation of the season, but like Berryhill last week, he previously only saw snaps on special teams. Expect the Lions to take the same approach this week, deploying the pair on special teams, while also being available as depth if Reynolds can’t go.
From a financial standpoint, there is no difference in cost between elevating or signing a player to the active roster for a single game. All three players will make the equivalent of one game check. However, there is a difference between the two situations following the game. For the elevated players, they simply revert back to the Lions practice squad, without having to pass through waivers. A signed player remains on the roster, but if they are released, they are required to pass through waivers.
Therefore, applying these rules to the Lions current situation, following this Sunday’s game, the Zylstra brothers will revert back to the Lions roster without needing to go through waivers. However, if Berryhill is released—which has become commonplace this season, see: Maurice Alexander—he will be subject to waivers.