The Detroit Lions have reduced their roster to 85 players, ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, by waiving safety Brady Breeze with an injury designation and waiving undrafted rookie wide receiver Josh Johnson with an injury settlement.
The Lions claimed Breeze off of waivers late in 2021, and he played a special teams role during the final month of the year. Entering 2022, he was working his way into the safety competition, while also maintaining a special teams role. He is an upside player that the Lions deployed all over the secondary, and just seemed to be scratching the surface of his skill set.
Breeze was injured on the opening special teams play of the Lions' preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. By waiving him with an injury designation—which they are required to do—if/when Breeze passes through waivers, he will revert back to the team’s injured reserve, ending his season with the organization.
At that point, the Lions can opt to keep him on their injured reserve all season—which will keep him under contract through the 2024 season, as it keeps his rookie contract intact—or they can reach an injury settlement with him, thus allowing him to become a free agent.
This is the strategy they executed with Johnson, who is eligible to sign with another organization immediately. Johnson has been in and out of practice for the the past couple weeks, dealing with an unspecified injury, but he has been near the bottom of the wide receiver rotation throughout camp.
These two moves were the final two necessary for the Lions to cut down their roster to the 85-player deadline by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday. On Monday, the Lions made their first three moves by cutting tight ends Garrett Griffin and Nolan Givan along with center Ryan McCollum.
The next round of cutdowns is due in a week—August 23—when each team must get down to 80 players. As we previously explained, the Lions may not have to make many roster cuts during this next deadline, as a new rule allows teams to place players currently on the PUP/NFI list (like Jameson Williams, Romeo Okwara, Jerry Jacobs, etc.) onto the reserve/PUP or reserve/NFI list, which creates a roster spot, but also mandates that those players miss at least the first four games of the regular season.