Originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Lions, Stenberg has played in 25 games over the last three seasons, including starting four games in 2022. With injuries at guard last season, the Lions gave Stenberg a shot to win a permanent starting role, but he struggled to find his footing as a starter.
After two starts in Weeks 1 and 2—that resulted in a pass blocking grade of 2.0 from PFF—Stenberg was replaced by Evan Brown at right guard. When Brown was injured in Week 5, Stenberg was given another shot to compete but was pulled at halftime after an apparent missed assignment. Stenberg was called upon again in Week 14, and while his pass blocking improved, he could not hold onto the starting role.
Entering 2023, the Lions continued to cross-train Stenberg at both guard spots, as well as at center, but he found himself dropping down the depth chart—often repping with the third string when he found the field. While he flashed the skills that earned him opportunities in the past, he was far too inconsistent in camp, which is something this coaching staff frowns upon for third-year veterans.
The Lions have been looking for some of their reserve offensive linemen to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, and when recent opportunities to step up into a contributing role arose, it’s been Graham Glasgow, Colby Sorsdal, Kayode Awosika, and Darrin Paulo that have taken advantage.
Assuming Stenberg is released without an injury designation, the Lions will incur a minimal cap hit—just over $185,000, per Over The Cap—and will open a spot on their 90-man roster, presumably for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who has reportedly finalized his deal to join the Lions.