Davis, the Lions' 2017 first-round pick, has bounced around the league in the past couple of years. Last year, the Lions were outbid by the New York Jets in free agency, leading Davis to sign a one-year, $5.5 million contract in New York. After fizzling out there, the Lions re-signed Davis this offseason to a league-minimum deal.
Davis spent most of the season on the Lions’ practice squad, but when injuries hit Detroit’s linebacker room, they elevated Davis to the active gameday roster three times this season: against the Bears, Vikings, and Jets. In those three game appearances, Davis played a total of 36 defensive snaps and another 29 on special teams. Over that time, he tallied three tackles and a pass defended, and clearly made an impression with the coaching staff.
“It was outstanding to see JD go out there and make the plays that he did, and especially on special teams,” defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said after the Jets game.
Because the Lions had already used three elevations for Davis, the only way he was going to play again for Detroit in the final two games of the season was if he was signed to the 53-man roster. The Lions likely had the opportunity to do so, but instead opted to let him go to the Giants—one of the teams who are currently contending with Detroit for the final two Wild Card spots up for grabs.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Davis’ future beyond this season. The Lions have spoken highly of the 28-year-old linebacker, so it’s entirely possible he makes his third appearance in Detroit, especially considering how much the defender has said he loves the city and the team.
“I love playing in that stadium, I love being around that city, I love seeing Michigan summers, winters,” Davis said back in March. “I’m still learning, still trying to grow on me, but I enjoy this place, I really do. I really do. And it just feels right.”