Last year, Parker was signed as an undrafted rookie but ended up winning the starting nickel job. He would end up playing 13 games for the Lions—starting seven—missing only four games due to injury.
But this year, the Lions attempted to add competition to the position, signing free agent Mike Hughes and drafting Chase Lucas in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Hughes appeared to jump Parker late in training camp, as the two split time with the first-team defense. Meanwhile, Lucas repped mostly later in the games but showed promise in his limited amount of snaps.
Considering coach Dan Campbell’s comments about Parker after Sunday’s preseason finale against the Steelers, it’s fair to call this move somewhat unexpected.
“AJ has proven to be dependable,” Campbell said. “He’s smart. He’s crafty. Though he has limitations, he understands his own limitations and is able to play at least one step ahead, because he is a smart player.”
Expect Parker to be back on the practice squad if he clears waiver. Meanwhile, it looks like Hughes has won the starting nickel job, and Lucas may have a good chance of making the 53-man roster.
In addition to cutting Parker, the Lions will be moving cornerback Jerry Jacobs to the reserve/physically unable to perform list, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. This means Jacobs will miss the first four games of the regular season while still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in December.
Campbell said this was a roster move he had been wrestling with over the past couple weeks.
“That’s another one that we’re talking about, and that’s a tough one because if we don’t PUP him that’s a spot, and we don’t see him being ready for Philly,” Campbell said. “So that’s another one up for debate.”
Shortly after the news broke, Jacobs tweeted this, clearly expressing some frustration over the decision:
Shit irks my soul bruh— Jerry Jacobs (@_luhjerry) August 30, 2022
UPDATE: Jacobs clarified that his frustration is over not being able to play ball. He understands the decision: