Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown celebrates the 31-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC divisional round at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024.

Report: Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown gets $120M extension

The Detroit Lions have agreed to a four-year, $120 million extension with All-Pro wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

The deal runs through 2028 and reportedly includes $77 million guaranteed, supplanting Cooper Kupp’s $75 million as the highest total among NFL wideouts.

With an average annual value of $30 million per season, St. Brown would trail only Miami Dolphins star Tyreek Hill’s annual compensation of $31.3 million, according to Spotrac.

A fourth-round pick in 2021, St. Brown had been scheduled to earn $3.366 million in base salary in the final year of his rookie contract in 2024.

St. Brown, 24, caught 119 passes for 1,515 yards and 10 touchdowns in 16 starts in 2023, adding 22 receptions for 274 yards and one score in three postseason games.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection’s career totals include 315 catches for 3,588 yards and 21 TDs in 49 games (41 starts).

–Field Level Media

Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams (QB14) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

QBs Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels headline NFL draft attendees

Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels are among the 13 prospects who have accepted an invitation to attend the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit.

Completing the quarterback contingent at the draft, set for April 25-27, is Drake Maye of North Carolina. Williams (Southern California), Daniels (LSU) and Maye should have a short wait to hear their names called, with all three expected to be taken within the first handful of picks.

Quarterback JJ McCarthy (Michigan), who has risen up the draft boards this spring and is in the running for a top-10 pick, won’t be on hand.

Four wide receivers also will be present in Detroit. Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State), Malik Nabers (LSU) and Rome Odunze (Washington) all likely will be selected in the top half of the first round, with Brian Thomas Jr. (LSU) also in the mix.

The other offensive player confirmed for Detroit is offensive tackle J.C. Latham (Alabama).

On the defensive side of the ball, edge rushers Darius Robinson (Missouri), Laiatu Latu (UCLA) and Dallas Turner (Alabama) have said they will be there. Robinson grew up in suburban Detroit.

Cornerbacks Terrion Arnold (Alabama) and Quinyon Mitchell (Toledo) also accepted the NFL’s invitations.

The Chicago Bears have the No. 1 pick in the draft and are expected to select Williams, likely beginning a run on quarterbacks with the Washington Commanders and New England Patriots scheduled to follow the Bears.

–Field Level Media

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy celebrates after the 34-13 win over Washington to win the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

Big names added to NFL draft-eligible list

Caleb Williams, the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, national championship-winning QB J.J. McCarthy, and All-American wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. were among 20 additional players granted special eligibility on Friday for the 2024 NFL Draft.

In all, 54 players have received special eligibility, with 34 previously announced. That group applied prior to the early “soft” deadline of Jan. 5, with these others submitting their requests for eligibility prior to the traditional Jan. 15 deadline.

Each of the 20 players approved Friday have met the NFL’s three-year eligibility rule and renounced their rights to college. An additional three players were granted eligibility after notifying the NFL that they had fulfilled degree requirements.

The additional players eligible to be selected in the 2024 NFL Draft, to be held April 25-27 in Detroit, are:

Quarterbacks: J.J. McCarthy, Michigan; Caleb Williams, Southern California
Defensive backs: Terrion Arnold, Alabama; Calen Bullock, USC; Cooper DeJean, Iowa; Jaden Hicks, Washington State; Kamren Kinchens, Miami; Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama
Tight ends: Brock Bowers, Georgia; Ja’Tavion Sanders, Texas
Running backs: Jonathon Brooks, Texas; Jaden Shirden, Monmouth
Wide receivers: Arland Bruce, Oklahoma State; Marvin Harrison, Ohio State; Adonai Mitchell, Texas; Ja’Lynn Polk, Washington
Linebackers: Junior Colson, Michigan, Jeremiah Trotter, Clemson; Dallas Turner, Alabama
Defensive tackles: Michael Hall, Ohio State; Maason Smith, LSU; Byron Murphy, Texas
Offensive tackles: J.C. Latham, Alabama; Roger Rosengarten, Washington

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions running back David Montgomery (5) runs with the ball against the Chicago Bears during the first half at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Lions rally in fourth quarter to upend Bears

David Montgomery scored on a 1-yard run with 29 seconds remaining and the Detroit Lions rallied from a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit to pull out a 31-26 victory over the visiting Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Montgomery, a former Bears running back, rushed for 76 yards and the go-ahead touchdown. Jared Goff, who threw a season-high three interceptions, engineered two fourth-quarter scoring drives and finished with 236 yards passing and two touchdowns.

Amon-Ra St. Brown caught eight passes for 77 yards and a touchdown for Detroit (8-2).

Bears quarterback Justin Fields, who missed the four previous games with a thumb injury, passed for 169 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 104 yards. DJ Moore caught seven passes for 96 yards and a touchdown for Chicago (3-8).

Down 26-14, Goff hooked up with Jameson Williams on a 32-yard score with 2:59 remaining to cut the deficit to five.

Detroit forced a three-and-out to set up the game-winning 73-yard drive. It began with a 13-yard completion from Goff to Montgomery and culminated with Montgomery’s 1-yard run. Goff then completed a two-point conversion pass to Sam LaPorta.

Aidan Hutchinson forced Fields to fumble and the ball was kicked out of the end zone, resulting in a safety with 22 seconds left.

Detroit led 14-10 at halftime.

On Chicago’s opening drive, D’Onta Foreman scored on a 1-yard run.

A fumble recovery by Detroit’s Alex Anzalone at the Bears’ 34-yard line set up Detroit’s first touchdown. Jahmyr Gibbs rushed from 2 yards out with 9:23 left in the half.

Chicago then had the ball for over seven minutes but had to settle for Cairo Santos’ 31-yard field goal.

Goff found St. Brown over the middle for a 7-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left in the half.

Santos drilled a 53-yard field goal midway through the third quarter to cut the Lions’ lead to 14-13.

The Bears forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and cashed in three plays later, as Fields threw a 39-yard strike to Moore.

After Goff was intercepted for the third time, Chicago made it a two-possession game on Santos’ 40-yard field goal. Santos made a 39-yard field goal with 4:15 remaining for a 26-14 advantage.

Tyrique Stevenson, T.J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds recorded the three interceptions for Chicago.

–Field Level Media

Detroit Lions kicks off season opener against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020.

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Buying the hype: Lions season tickets sell out

Fans in Detroit are buying into the 2023 Lions — and gobbling up season tickets.

The team announced Thursday that all season tickets have been sold, the first time the Lions have reached that mark since the 65,000-seat Ford Field opened in downtown Detroit in 2002.

“This is an exciting moment for our franchise. To reach this milestone as we celebrate our 90th season of Detroit Lions football makes the moment even more special,” said Rod Wood, the team’s president and CEO, in a statement. “The Lions have always enjoyed a loyal and multi-generational fan base that has been the bedrock of our fanbase. We can’t wait for the home field advantage that this will create inside Ford Field this season.”

The Lions even will take names for a 2024 waiting list.

This is a long-awaited turn of support for the Lions, who saw fans wearing paper bags on their heads as the team went winless in 2008 and struggled in subsequent seasons. They Lions have made the playoffs just three times since 2008, losing in the wild-card round in 2011, 2014 and 2016.

Coach Dan Campbell’s team finished 9-8 in 2022 but are considered the early favorites to win the NFC North in 2023. The Lions will get an immediate test in Week 1, when they travel to Kansas City on Sept. 7 to meet the Super Bowl champion Chiefs in the season opener.

When training camp opened, Campbell acknowledged the frenzy around his team.

“I think as always, the thing that’s gonna worry you is the hype train,” Campbell said at camp in Allen Park, Mich., per ESPN. “I mean, as with most coaches, this thing is just taking off and it’s out of control right now and that’s fine, as long as we stay focused on the job at hand and the work. I just keep going back to that. We’ve got to put the work in and earn it.”

–Field Level Media

Penn State's Joey Porter Jr. motions to the Nittany Lion faithful after Minnesota is penalized for a second false start in the first quarter at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in State College.

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On the clock: Detroit Lions draft preview

On the rise in the NFC North, the Detroit Lions are cashing in trade return received in the Matthew Stafford deal with the No. 6 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The “bonus” selection for general manager Brad Holmes invites a number of options, backstopped by the team’s own pick — No. 18 — after an active free agency period.

Last season, Holmes flipped a pair of first-rounders into defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and wide receiver Jameson Williams (12th overall). Williams essentially had a redshirt season, practicing in November and making his debut in December after tearing his ACL in the 2022 national championship game with Alabama.

Jared Goff had a strong season in 2022 and the Lions have committed to him for the upcoming season. Beyond this year is not a guarantee, which brings quarterback into consideration in the first round.

Using Williams as a living example of the philosophy, head coach Dan Campbell pointed out this month that Holmes doesn’t have a depth chart in the draft room and will take the best “player, best athlete,” on the board at No. 6.

TEAM NEEDS
CB: A big reason the Lions were one of the worst defenses in the league was a weak secondary. They’ve addressed it to some extent in free agency, signing Cam Sutton at cornerback and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (Eagles). More coverage help is required. Jeff Okudah was the third pick in the 2020 draft and there have been moments where he played to that rating, but they’ve been few and far between. Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon plays with the type of edge Campbell wants, as does Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr.

LB: Iowa’s Jack Campbell had a top-30 visit to Detroit and we can’t help but mention Chris Spielman is consulting for the team. We’d pay cash money to read No. 54s report on Campbell, whose change-of-direction agility wowed some scouts at the combine.

QB: Anthony Richardson might be a project, but with the bonus draft pick in hand, a starting quarterback in place and young roster on the rise, why not gamble on upside? Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (torn ACL in 2022) makes a world of sense later in the first round.

2023 DRAFT PICKS
Round Pick (Overall)
1. 6 (6)
1. 18 (18)
2. 17 (48)
2. 24 (55)
3. 18 (81)
5. 17 (152)
6. 6 (183)
6. 17 (194)

BEST FITS
1. CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State: A brash bully who competes every snap, there might not be a better coach-prospect personality match in the draft.

2. DT Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin: The Lions have drafted nine defensive linemen in the past three drafts. Campbell hinted at the combine he’d like more, and particularly an active and productive interior lineman.

3. OG Chandler Zavala, NC State: Two pre-draft meetings with Detroit’s brass signal more than interest in this power-based interior lineman.

–Field Level Media

Dec 24, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard (30) runs during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers dominate on the ground to end Lions’ win streak

D’Onta Foreman ran for 165 yards and Chuba Hubbard racked up 125 yards on the ground as the Carolina Panthers got back on track by trouncing the Detroit Lions 37-23 on Saturday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C.

A week after gaining only 21 rushing yards, the Panthers used a punishing ground attack right from the start on the way to snapping the Lions’ three-game winning streak.

Foreman, Raheem Blackshear and quarterback Sam Darnold all scored rushing touchdowns as the Panthers (6-9) won for the third time in their last four games and remained within a game of first place in the NFC South.

The Panthers’ quest for the divisional title will take them to road games against Tampa Bay and New Orleans to close the regular season.

Amid frigid conditions for Carolina’s home finale, Darnold threw for a touchdown as part of his 15-for-22 day with 250 yards through the air. DJ Moore made five catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.

Jared Goff threw three touchdown passes to tight end Shane Zylstra for the Lions (7-8), but this result was damaging to Detroit’s wild-card aspirations. Goff finished 25 for 42 for 355 yards. DJ Chark made four catches for 108 yards.

Of the Panthers’ 570 yards of total offense, 320 came on the ground.

Hubbard picked up 70 yards in just three carries on Carolina’s first possession, with the Panthers going 78 yards in five plays, ending on Blackshear’s 7-yard touchdown run.

The Lions pulled even on Zylstra’s 3-yard pass from Goff. Detroit’s next possession ended in a fumble after moving 82 yards on 13 plays, when Yetur Gross-Matos recovered Goff’s fumbled snap at the Carolina 9-yard line.

The Panthers scored 17 points in the final 9:35 of the first half, capped by Eddy Pineiro’s 37-yard field goal on the final play before the break. The Panthers had a team-record 364 yards of first-half total offense.

The margin ballooned to 31-7 on Darnold’s 5-yard pass play to Moore on the Panthers’ first possession of the second half. Pineiro added fourth-quarter field goals from 40 and 36 yards.

Zylstra caught touchdowns of 7 yards and 1 yard in the second half but Detroit could not draw closer than 14 points.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon (9) strip sacks Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Bailey Zappe, defense come up big as Patriots blank Lions

Bailey Zappe threw a touchdown in his first career NFL start and Kyle Dugger returned a fumble for a touchdown as the New England Patriots cruised to a 29-0 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.

Zappe completed 17 of 21 passes for 188 yards and also threw an interception as New England (2-3) snapped a two-game losing streak. He connected with Jakobi Meyers for a 24-yard TD at the end of the third quarter to officially put the game out of reach.

Meyers finished with seven catches for 111 yards, while Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for a career-high 161 yards on 25 carries.

Nick Folk added five field goals.

The Lions (1-4) mustered 312 yards of total offense. Jared Goff finished with 229 yards and one interception on 19-for-35 passing, and Jamaal Williams carried the ball 15 times for 56 yards. Josh Reynolds hauled in six catches for 92 yards.

In a last-chance effort to score, Detroit drove down to the Patriots’ 18 with 3:10 left to play. Goff threw two incompletions and turned the ball over on downs, though, to come up empty once again.

The Lions tried to move the chains six times on fourth down, but were never able to convert.

One of those fourth-down situations came with just under four minutes left in the first half when Detroit elected to go for a fourth-and-9 at the New England 32.

Matthew Judon sacked Goff, Goff fumbled and Dugger scooped up the loose ball and scurried 59 yards to the end zone for a 13-0 lead.

Folk made a 44-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to send the Patriots into the break up 16-0.

New England jumped out a 6-0 lead thanks to a pair of Folk field goals. He kicked a 37-yarder to cap the Patriots’ first drive of the game, and after Jack Jones intercepted Goff, Folk made good on 32-yard attempt to open the second quarter.

Lions cornerback Saivion Smith was taken off the field by ambulance early in the first quarter after sustaining a neck injury.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) throws a pass during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots to host Lions in battle of injury-riddled, three-loss teams

If there’s any such thing as a good loss, the New England Patriots had one last weekend.

However, even the best of losses doesn’t come close to the worst of wins, so the Patriots will be looking to get back on track on Sunday when they face the Detroit Lions in Foxborough, Mass.

New England (1-3) put up a valiant effort in enemy territory against the Green Bay Packers last Sunday. The Patriots were without starting quarterback Mac Jones due to an ankle injury, and backup Brian Hoyer exited the game in the first quarter after slamming his head against the turf.

Rookie Bailey Zappe was forced to take over, and, in his NFL debut, gave New England a fighting chance, helping the Patriots to a seven-point lead with just over 11 minutes left to play.

But the more experienced quarterback prevailed, as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers squeaked out a 27-24 win in overtime.

Now Zappe might find himself starting against the Lions, and if he does, New England coach Bill Belichick said he’ll be ready to go.

“I think we all know what a backup quarterback’s potential job and role is. Bailey knows it, we know it and everybody that plays that position knows it,” Belichick said. “He stepped in, he was well prepared and I thought generally, he handled himself well.”

Jones’ return isn’t completely out of the question, as he was limited in practice on Wednesday and NFL Network also reported that he was going to “push to play.” Hoyer, however, did not practice.

Belichick wouldn’t give away any of his cards, though.

“We’ll see,” he said when asked about the quarterback situation. “Just take it day to day.”

Much like the Patriots, Detroit (1-3) wasn’t able to overcome injuries to key offensive weapons last week, either.

The Lions were without receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and running back D’Andre Swift, who could have been the difference had they played in the 48-45 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Both St. Brown (ankle) and Swift (shoulder/ankle) missed Wednesday’s practice.

Regardless of who is or who isn’t playing, offense hasn’t been the issue for the Lions.

Detroit’s defense has been abysmal, allowing the most points (35.3) and yards (444.8) per game through the first four weeks of the season.

One especially poor performance hasn’t inflated those numbers, either, as the Lions have allowed at least 27 points and 373 yards in each of their first four games.

“(Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn) and I are still working through that, us and the defense,” Detroit coach Dan Campbell said. “We’re going to need to move some personnel around, that’ll be one part of it, and then certainly look at calming things down and simplifying schematically.”

Linebacker Chris Board (knee) and defensive lineman John Cominsky (wrist) likely won’t be part of those adjustments just yet, as they were both non-participants during practice on Wednesday.

The Lions’ offensive line is also banged up. Center Evan Brown (ankle) did not practice, and tackles Taylor Decker (knee) and Matt Nelson (calf) were limited along with guard Jonah Jackson (finger).

Defensive lineman Lawrence Guy (shoulder) and tight end Jonnu Smith (ankle) did not participate in New England’s practice on Wednesday, while safety Kyle Dugger and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers were limited participants with knee injuries.

Safety Adrian Phillips (hip) and cornerback Jalen Mills (hamstring) were also limited.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) hands off the ball to running back Rashaad Penny (20) against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Geno Smith leads Seahawks past Lions in high-scoring affair

Geno Smith completed 23 of 30 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a score as the Seattle Seahawks defeated the host Detroit Lions 48-45 Sunday afternoon.

Rashaad Penny rushed for 151 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns, including a 41-yarder with 2:14 remaining. Penny also scored from 36 yards on a third-and-16 play as the Seahawks (2-2) amassed 235 yards on the ground.

DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett combined for 13 receptions for 240 yards.

Detroit’s Jared Goff was 26 of 39 for 378 yards and four touchdowns, though he threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage in the second half that was returned by rookie Tariq Woolen 40 yards for a touchdown.

Goff threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Justin Jackson with 1:06 remaining to pull the Lions within three points, but Seattle’s DeeJay Dallas recovered the ensuing onside kick and the Seahawks were able to run out the clock.

Tight end T.J. Hockenson made eight catches for 179 yards and two TDs for the Lions (1-3) and Jamaal Williams rushed 19 times for 108 yards and two more scores, including a 51-yarder.

Trailing 38-23, Goff completed an 81-yard pass to Hockenson on the final play of the third quarter to Seattle’s 4-yard line.

Two plays later, Goff threw a 3-yard TD pass to Josh Reynolds in the back of the end zone and a two-point conversion to Hockenson to make it 38-31.

After a Seattle field goal, Goff hit Hockenson with a 4-yard scoring strike to pull the Lions with three with 5:26 left, but they couldn’t get any closer.

Smith was 12 of 14 for two TDs and also rushed for a score in the first half, guiding the Seahawks to a 24-15 lead.

The TD passes went to tight ends, with Will Dissly scoring from 17 yards and Noah Fant from 2 yards. Smith also scored on an 8-yard quarterback draw, rushing untouched up the middle.

–Field Level Media