The Detroit Lions have re-signed fullback Jason Cabinda to a two-year deal, the team announced on Thursday morning. Cabinda was one of the Lions’ 6 restricted free agents, but now he is under contract all the way through 2023. The Lions are able to negotiate with any and all of the remaining free agents at any point.
Cabinda first joined the Lions in 2019 after being waived from the Raiders. At the time, he was a linebacker spending most of the season on the practice squad and scout teams, before seeing some late special teams action. The following year, however, he transitioned to the offensive side of the ball and served as the team’s primary fullback, playing in all 16 games and tallying two starts.
He further expanded his role under the Lions’ new coaching staff last year, playing what the staff called the “superback” role, playing in the backfield, inline as a tight end, and even occasionally out wide as a receiver. Though he didn’t produce many traditional stats (three rushes, 23 yards; four catches, 16 yards), he was a key cog in the Lions’ much-improved running game. He earned an 82.3 run-blocking grade for his efforts. He was also a four-phase special teamer last year and earned a solid 84.8 PFF grade with that unit.
The Lions' coaching staff did not shy away from praising Cabinda from the beginning of the year until the end.
“I’ve been intrigued by Cabinda since the spring,” head coach Dan Campbell said back in August. “There’s something about him - we knew he was a little raw because he made that transition last year, but there is something to him.”
Cabinda’s work ethic both on and off the field made him the Lions’ 2020 2021 Walter Payton Man-of-the-year nominee as well.
“Guys like Jason Cabinda can change the world,” Campbell said. “He is a man of principle who sets such a positive example for our entire locker room. Since the day I met him, he has embodied what it means to be a leader on and off the field.”