Custom Nick Bawden Jersey Large

ALLEN PARK — The Detroit Lions appear to be saying goodbye to running back J.D. McKissic.

Detroit elected not to tender McKissic, a restricted free agent who had some nice moments after being acquired by Detroit last season. He hit the open market once the new league year started at 4 p.m. today.

McKissic was used mostly as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, snaring 34 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown. He also had 38 carries for 205 yards.

Kerryon Johnson, Bo Scarbrough, Ty Johnson, Wes Hills, Tra Carson and Nick Bawden (fullback) are all under contract for next season in the backfield, and Detroit is also expected to look for another back in the middle or later rounds of the draft.

Related: Day 3 free agency tracker

Defensive tackle Jamie Meder — affectionally known as the “Pierogi Prince of Parma” — is another restricted free agent who was not tendered by Detroit.

The Lions did tender both of their exclusive rights free agents, cornerbacks Mike Ford and Dee Virgin, which was expected. Teams have total control over ERFAs and contracts are not guaranteed, so there’s no real downside to tendering them. It’s just a matter of pushing around some paperwork.

Detroit’s additions this week with the start of free agency: Offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, defensive tackle Nick Williams, defensive tackle Danny Shelton, linebacker Jamie Collins, safety Duron Harmon (via trade) and quarterback Chase Daniel.

Custom Chase Daniel Jersey Large

Chase Daniel brings a personal dynamic to his position with the Detroit Lions that is different than any of the backup quarterbacks Matthew Stafford worked with in the previous 11 seasons.

Daniel and Stafford are contemporaries in the game of football, dating back to their high school roots in Texas.

The 2020 free-agent market has brought them together for the first time in the NFL, thus adding a link to a friendship and relationship that began when both were star quarterbacks at high schools about 30 miles apart in the Dallas area.

While their NFL careers have been on a different level – Stafford as a starter for the Lions, Daniel as a career backup with a total of five career starts – the similarity in age, background and tenure in the NFL has Stafford looking forward to working with Daniel.

“He was really a good high school player, and a good college player,” Stafford said after Daniel signed. “He did a nice job of building a career in the NFL.

“We grew up not far from each other. He and I have known each other for a long time. Off and on throughout our NFL careers. I’d go up and talk to him whenever we played one of his teams.

“I’m happy to have him here. He’s a guy who’s been around some good offenses and some good offensive minds.

“I’m happy to have him on our team. He’s a good dude.”

Daniel led Southlake Carroll High School to two state championships. Stafford won one at Highland Park. Both schools are noted athletics powerhouses that competed in different divisions.

Daniel and Stafford were college stars after high school. Daniel spent four years at Missouri (2005-08) while Stafford spent three at Georgia (2006-08).

Their careers took separate turns after that. Stafford was drafted first overall by the Lions in 2009 while Daniel went undrafted and made the Saints practice squad after being cut by the Redskins.

RELATED LINKS
MOCK DRAFT WATCH: Trade or no trade, Okudah still the front runner for Lions
Meet the Prospect: Tee Higgins
O’HARA’S MOCK 3 4.0: How free agency impacts Lions’ pick
Stafford, who turned 32 in February, had older veterans as primary backups most of his first nine years. It started in Stafford’s rookie season and continued through Shaun Hill (2010-13), Dan Orlovsky (2014-16) and Matt Cassel (2018).

Drew Stanton, a 2007 second-round draft pick, started one game in 2009 and three in 2010 because of injuries. He did not go into either season as the primary backup.

Jake Rudock, a 2016 sixth-round draft pick, took over as the primary backup in 2017 and played briefly in three games, attempting five passes. Last year, Jeff Driskel and rookie David Blough started three and five games respectively – all losses – when Stafford went out with a season-ending back injury sustained in Game 8.

Daniel, who turns 34 in October, has been at both ends of the age-difference pendulum as a backup.

In two tours with New Orleans, he was the young guy behind future Hall of Famer Drew Brees.

It was the complete opposite in two other stops.

Daniel was the old guy mentoring a young quarterback (Carson Wentz) with the Eagles in 2016 and again the last two years with the Bears (Mitchell Trubisky).

With Stafford and the Lions, there is no appreciable gap in age or experience, since both came into the league in 2009.

“The veteran-to-veteran status is something I was sort of wanting,” Daniel said in his conference-call interview last week.

“With me and Matthew, we have a history. It’s not like I’m coming in to be a mentor. Matthew’s one of the best players in the game. It’ll be fun to work side by side with him.”

Daniel has talked about spending most of his career in two basic offensive systems based on the schemes of Saints head coach Sean Payton and Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.

“Andy’s more the RPO (run pass option) stuff,” Daniel said. “Everybody knows the type of offense they run down in New Orleans. It’s awesome. It’s great … throw the ball down the field.”

Daniel knows that the backup’s role is to support the starter and make suggestions – and be ready to play.

He’s happy to pass on his knowledge of the offenses he has worked in – if asked.

“If I get asked about it,” he said, “I’ll definitely try to bring my knowledge to the forefront.”

Custom A’Shawn Robinson Jersey

ALLEN PARK — A’Shawn Robinson might have already played his final game for the Detroit Lions.

Robinson has been ruled out for the season finale on Sunday against Green Bay. He’s been battling a shoulder injury that sidelined him the last two games. Detroit is expected to free up the roster spot by moving him to injured reserve on Saturday.

And with his rookie contract set to expire with the start of the new league year in March, it’s possible Robinson’s time in Detroit has come to a close.

He was a second-round pick in Bob Quinn’s first draft class back in 2016, but only occasionally delivered on his promise. He’s started 37 games in four years while accounting for 172 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, 14 QB hits, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one pick-six off New Orleans’ Drew Brees in 2017.

He ranked among PFF’s 15 best interior defenders last season, his first in the Matt Patricia defense, but has fallen all the way to No. 100 this year. Mike Daniels has been hurt most of the year, and Da’Shawn Hand too. Even Snacks Harrison’s play dropped off, and that cratering in the middle of Detroit’s highly anticipated defensive line has caused problems all season.

Now with Robinson and Daniels both eligible to become free agents in March, Detroit has serious questions to mull as it figures out how to repair a defense that has allowed 5,974 yards this season. That’s 29th in the league, and Detroit’s worst defensive season since 2010 with one game still to go.

Linebacker Devon Kennard (shoulder), linebacker Steve Longa (quad), kicker Matt Prater (illness), right tackle Rick Wagner (knee) and safety Tavon Wilson (hamstring) are questionable against Green Bay.

Custom Kenny Golladay Jersey Large

The Detroit Lions routinely don’t generate enough respect in the NFL landscape, and Kenny Golladay is perhaps the latest example of this.

In spite of a season in which Golladay led the NFL in touchdowns (11), placed a respectable seventh in yardage (1,190). He also had an amazing six catches go for 40 yards or more, which was the third highest total of any wideout. Golladay also had 22 catches go over 20 yards, the second highest total of any wideout in the league.

As a whole, Golladay was an all around big play waiting to happen, but didn’t mange to crack the Pro Bowl. This past week, Golladay was snubbed again, failing to generate enough All-Pro votes to appear on that team as well. That’s in spite of being a statistical leader in multiple ways at a key spot on the offense.

Call him the latest victim of the national anti-Lions bias.

Never mind that, though. Just focus on the numbers. Silently, Golladay’s trajectory is obvious. He’s put up 2,730 yards and 19 touchdowns in his short three year career. After being an unknown draft pick out of Northern Illinois, Golladay has turned himself into one of the top players in football at his position.

That should count for something, even though it apparently doesn’t to those making the choices for awards, recognition and the like.

Even such, Golladay has shown that he doesn’t care about awards, and is merely focused on grinding and finding a way to be the best of the best. That’s all that matters, even if it would be nice to see him get more love for what he’s already accomplished.

There’s no question Golladay deserves more attention, but he’s going to be a force moving forward no matter who gives him the love.
Kenny Golladay Makes Lions History in 2019

Not only is Golladay is one of the leading receivers in the NFL, he piled up the yardage as well as the impact plays for the Lions, who were incredibly needy for big plays this season. Arguably, to this end, he was the team’s MVP.

Lucky for Detroit, Golladay is making explosive plays a habit for the team. How much of a habit? Golladay has broken records for the Lions that have been standing for decades. As the team’s PR account pointed out on Twitter, Golladay has caught a touchdown 40 yards or more in three straight games, something which hasn’t been done in 88 years since 1931.

The last player to accomplish the feat? Bill McKalip, who managed to do it with the Portsmouth Spartans. In other words, the last time the Lions had a wideout as explosive as Golladay, they weren’t even officially the Lions yet.

Facts like this should only serve to prove the point about how solid Golladay has been.
Kenny Golladay’s 2019 Stats

From nearly the start of the season until the finish, Golladay had an excellent year catching the ball. He put up 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns. He had multiple huge games this season, given five times Golladay has gone well over 100 yards in a game catching the ball for the Lions.

In total, Golladay has enjoyed arguably the best start to a career of any wideout in his 2017 draft class not named JuJu Smith-Schuster. Golladay looks like an obvious top dog in Detroit for the foreseeable future with Matthew Stafford tossing him the rock. That’s good news for the Lions, who have long pondered how to find production at the wideout position minus Calvin Johnson. Not an issue anymore with Golladay taking over.

The Lions are going to be happy to keep Golladay in the mix for 2020, and his emergence as one of the top wideouts in the NFL will be easy to see next season with more team health.

No matter how many award lists he’s snubbed from, nothing can slow down the trajectory he’s shown. To the wideout and his fans, that fact should matter more than anything else.