Dec 29, 2019; Denver, Colorado, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams (16) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Report: WR Tyrell Williams reaches deal with Lions

Former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $6.2 million with the Detroit Lions, ESPN reported on Wednesday.

Williams, 29, will provide depth at the position at a time when Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola are slated to become free agents later this month.

The 6-foot-4 Williams is able to sign with the Lions prior to free agency opening on March 17 because he was released by the Raiders last month.

Williams enjoyed a promising start to his Raiders career after signing a four-year, $44 million contract (including $22 million guaranteed) in March 2019. He caught a touchdown pass in each of his first five games in 2019.

But that season was marred by a persistent battle with plantar fasciitis, and Williams finished the campaign with 42 catches for 651 yards and six scores in 14 games.

Williams sustained a torn labrum in August, which ended up sidelining him for the entire season. He suffered the same injury in 2017 with the Los Angeles Chargers and played through it.

Williams was originally an undrafted free agent out of Western Oregon in 2015. He enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign in 2016, when he notched career highs in receptions (69), receiving yards (1,059) and touchdown catches (seven).

Williams has 197 catches for 3,181 yards and 23 touchdowns in 69 career games (49 starts).

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2020; Frisco, Texas, USA; North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance (5) scrambles from James Madison Dukes safety D'Angelo Amos (24) in the third quarterat Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Lions GM intrigued by QB draft class

Don’t rule out quarterback as an option for the Detroit Lions with the No. 7 pick in the 2021 draft.

General manager Brad Holmes already made a major splash and reshaped the team’s footprint by trading longtime starter Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff, a deal that becomes official March 17.

But Holmes is not done scouting quarterbacks by any stretch as he looks to build a contender alongside head coach Dan Campbell.

The Lions not only landed Goff in the QB swap with the Rams, but a pair of future first-round picks and a third-round pick in the 2021 draft. That’s enough ammunition for Holmes to make a move now — or bide his time.

“The quarterback position in general, what’s cool about this year is that they’re in all different flavors,” Holmes said. “You have a guy that can actually do it all, do it from the pocket, do it with his legs. You have another guy that probably a little bit more does it with his legs, a little bit more of being creative. There’s another guy probably does it more from the pocket.

“So all the different flavors makes it very, very intriguing in terms of when you’re looking across the whole scope of the class of these quarterbacks.”

The top four or five quarterbacks in the draft are expected to have final draft grades worthy of first-round consideration based on Field Level Media’s rankings: Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Zach Wilson (BYU), Justin Fields (Ohio State), Mac Jones (Alabama) and North Dakota State wildcard Trey Lance.

“When you’re picking in the Top 10, I don’t think you can ignore and I think it’s smart drafting business anyways, when you’re picking in the Top 10 that you make sure you know that quarterback class very thoroughly,” Holmes said.

Free agency is likely to sharpen the Lions’ needs into focus with wide receiver Kenny Golladay, a candidate for the franchise tag, and pressing questions along the offensive line.

–Field Level Media

Sep 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus (87) stands on the field before the game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Lions WR Quintez Cephus sues alma mater

Detroit Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus sued the University of Wisconsin, accusing the school of making him a “scapegoat” amid a sexual assault investigation that resulted in his temporary expulsion.

He alleges in his suit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Madison, Wis., that the school violated both Title IX and his rights to due process. He is seeking unspecified damages.

Cephus was arrested in 2018 in Madison and charged with two counts of sexual assault. He was found not guilty in a trial the following year.

This is the second time Cephus sued the school, contending violation of his rights during a Title IX investigation that was opened in May 2018 and concluded at the end of August 2018. He filed the suit that October, and the case was dropped in March 2019.

Two women testified in his trial that Cephus sexually assaulted them at his apartment in April 2018 and that they were too drunk to give consent.

He was suspended from the Wisconsin football team and expelled from the university following the claims. He eventually was reinstated to the university and played the 2019 season with the Badgers, catching 59 passes for 901 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Lions selected him in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Now 22, he played in 13 games (two starts) for the Lions, catching 20 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Sep 27, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay greets quarterback Jared Goff (16) following his touchdown run against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Jared Goff on being traded by Rams: ‘Feeling is mutual’

Jared Goff helped the Rams win the NFC and signed a massive contract extension in the past two years, but soon Los Angeles will only be in his past.

The Rams agreed to trade Goff to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford and three future draft picks, a deal that cannot become official until the NFL league year begins March 17.

Goff saw, and heard, the writing on the wall from the Rams starting in late December through the end-of-season press conference in which coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead indicated repeatedly that their QB position was wide open.

“As the quarterback, as the guy that’s at arguably the most important position on the field, if you’re in a place that you’re not wanted and they want to move on from you, the feeling’s mutual,” Goff told the Los Angeles Times. “You don’t want to be in the wrong place. It became increasingly clear that was the case. (The trade) is something that I’m hopeful is going to be so good for my career.”

Goff, 26, said he is trying not to let the “sour” ending with McVay spoil the big games and big production they shared in winning the NFC West twice and reaching Super Bowl LIII.

But when he talked to the new decision-makers in Detroit, general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell, about the pending trade, Goff said he had a revelation.

“(Talking to the Lions) is what made me go, ‘Oh my god, this is how it’s supposed to feel.’ This makes me feel great, how excited they were, how fired up they were,” Goff said in an NFL Network interview.

Stafford, 33, has two years and $43 million remaining on his contract. He is a longtime acquaintance of McVay’s through a mutual high school competitor — Buffalo Bills wide receivers coach Chad Hall.

Hall and McVay were high-profile rivals in high school. Hall’s sister, Kelly, married Stafford.

Last week, McVay and Stafford had dinner in Mexico as the deal was being completed.

“Regardless of how it ended, me and Sean had a great relationship and did so many great things together,” Goff said. “Won a bunch of big games. Won a bunch of playoff games. Won two divisions together. Having so much success on the offense, so many good times and memories.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) passes the ball during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Stafford boosts Rams’ Super Bowl LVI odds

The Los Angeles Rams immediately became one of the favorites to win Super Bowl LVI with the acquisition of quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions.

Listed at 18/1 by SportsBetting.com last week, the Rams are now being offered at 10/1 by the sportsbook, making them the third favorite behind the Kansas City Chiefs (6/1) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9/1).

The Chiefs and Bucs will face off in Super Bowl LV next Sunday.

The Rams’ 2020 season end with a loss to the Green Bay Packers in the second round of the playoffs, and coach Sean McVay declined to fully endorse Jared Goff as the team’s starting quarterback for next season.

It quickly became apparent why on Saturday, when the Rams sent Goff and a bevvy of draft picks to Detroit to acquire Stafford.

The Lions were 80/1 longshots last week to win Super Bowl LVI, and SportsBetting.com lengthened those odds to 150/1 following the trade. Detroit is now even with the Jacksonville Jaguars as the biggest longshots among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Super Bowl LVI Odds:
Kansas City Chiefs 6/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9/1
Los Angeles Rams 10/1
Buffalo Bills 11/1
Green Bay Packers 12/1
Baltimore Ravens 12/1
New Orleans Saints 15/1
San Francisco 49ers 18/1
Seattle Seahawks 20/1
Indianapolis Colts 25/1
Miami Dolphins 25/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 25/1
Cleveland Browns 28/1
Dallas Cowboys 28/1
Tennessee Titans 28/1
Los Angeles Chargers 33/1
Minnesota Vikings 33/1
New England Patriots 33/1
Arizona Cardinals 40/1
Chicago Bears 40/1
Las Vegas Raiders 50/1
Philadelphia Eagles 50/1
Denver Broncos 50/1
Atlanta Falcons 66/1
Carolina Panthers 66/1
New York Giants 66/1
Houston Texans 66/1
Washington Football Team 66/1
Cincinnati Bengals 100/1
New York Jets 100/1
Detroit Lions 150/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 150/1

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford looks on before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Rams acquire Matthew Stafford from Lions for Jared Goff

Less than two years after reaching the Super Bowl, the Los Angeles Rams have a new quarterback, acquiring veteran Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions on Saturday in exchange for Jared Goff, according to multiple reports.

The Lions also will receive a third-round draft pick in 2021 and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023.

Stafford has played in just three career postseason games but has delivered a productive 12-year career in Detroit, throwing for 45,109 yards in 165 games with 282 touchdowns and 144 interceptions.

Goff has played in six playoff games over his five-year career, helping the Rams to the Super Bowl following the 2018 season. But he struggled in that game, throwing for 229 yards as the New England Patriots earned a 13-3 victory in the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever.

New Lions general manager Brad Holmes was hired by the team this month after serving as the Rams’ director of college scouting. The Lions and Stafford already agreed to mutually part ways.

“We’ve got quite a few offers and so it looks like we’ve got some trade partners,” new Lions head coach Dan Campbell said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “We’re just trying to work out the best scenario and see what’s best for us, ultimately.”

Stafford, who turns 33 next month, did not lead the Lions to an NFC North division title. He currently has two years left on a team-friendly contract due to pay him a combined $43 million — $20 million this year and $23 million next year.

The trade will be in principle only until the new league year begins in March. Stafford is due a $10 million roster bonus on the fifth day of the 2021 league year.

Detroit would carry $19 million in dead money on their salary cap in 2021, but a trade would yield a savings of $14 million in cap space and $20 million in cash at a time the NFL’s salary cap is expected to decrease, NFL Network reported.

Stafford started all 16 games and threw for 4,084 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season, despite playing through rib, right thumb, ankle and neck injuries. None of the injuries are expected to require surgery.

Stafford has gone 74-90-1 for the Lions and has completed 62.6 percent of his passes. His 38 game-winning drives rank eighth all time, and his 31 fourth-quarter comebacks are seventh-best in league history.

His most recent trip to the playoffs was in 2016, when Detroit went 9-7 in the regular season before losing to Seattle in the wild-card round.

Goff, 26, is a two-time Pro Bowler, but his quarterback rating the past two seasons was worse than the previous two.

The Cal product, who was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2016 NFL draft, has thrown for 18,171 yards in 69 career games with 107 touchdowns and 55 interceptions. He led the NFL in pass attempts in 2019 with 626.

Goff threw for 3,952 yards and 20 TDs with 13 interceptions in 15 games this past season, undergoing thumb surgery after a Week 16 injury. He returned off the bench two weeks later to help the Rams to a wild-card round victory over the Seattle Seahawks, but threw for just 155 yards in that game.

The Rams went 9-6 in the regular season with Goff as the starter and 10-6 overall. Los Angeles fell 32-18 in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs to the Green Bay Packers when Goff was 21 of 27 for 174 yards and one touchdown.

Stafford’s move to Los Angeles puts him in close proximity with close friend and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. The two attended Highland Park High School together in the Dallas area.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and running backs coach Duce Staley against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Lions add Duce Staley, Mark Brunell to coaching staff

The Detroit Lions announced the additions of Duce Staley, Mark Brunell and Mark DeLeone to their coaching staff on Friday.

Staley, 45, was hired as the assistant head coach/running backs coach with Detroit. It is the same title he held over the past three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was an NFL running back for 10 seasons.

Brunell, 50, joins the Lions as the team’s quarterbacks coach. It marks the first NFL coaching job for the three-time Pro Bowl selection, who last played in the league in 2011. He has mentored quarterbacks at the NFL Scouting Combine.

DeLeone, 33, will serve as Detroit’s inside linebackers coach in 2021 after spending the past two seasons in the same role with the Chicago Bears.

The three join a new-look staff for the Lions, who named Dan Campbell as their coach, Aaron Glenn as the defensive coordinator and Anthony Lynn as offensive coordinator.

–Field Level Media

Jan 25, 2019; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Mark Brunell throws a pass during the Play Football Celebrity Flag Game at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Lions to hire Mark Brunell as QB coach

The Detroit Lions continue to remake their coaching staff in their latest organizational reshuffle.

One day after the team announced former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn as the new offensive coordinator, NFL Network reported Thursday that the Lions are expected to add former three-time Pro Bowler Mark Brunell as the quarterbacks coach.

Brunell, 50, is the latest former player to join the Lions’ staff under new head coach Dan Campbell, the former NFL tight end who was hired last week.

Brunell joins other ex-NFL players on the sidelines in Detroit. In addition to Campbell, the ex-New Orleans assistant head coach, and Lynn, the former running back, the Lions have added Saints secondary coach and long-time defensive back Aaron Glenn as defensive coordinator and Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley — a former three-time 1,000-yard rusher in Philadelphia — in the same role.

The Lions will hire Brunell to his first NFL coaching position after he retired months after the end of the 2011 season. Brunell’s only other coaching experience came at a pair of Florida high schools. He spent 2012 as an assistant coach at Providence School in Jacksonville, before becoming the head coach at Jacksonville’s Episcopal School. He went went 2-8 in 2013 and 8-3 in 2014.

It was Jacksonville where Brunell made his biggest mark in his 19 NFL seasons. After being drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round in 1993 and serving as a backup quarterback to Hall of Famer Brett Favre for two seasons, Brunell was the target in the then-expansion Jaguars’ first trade in franchise history in April 1995.

Brunell would start 10 or more games for the Jaguars eight times, starting in their debut 1995 season through 2002, leading Jacksonville to a pair of AFC championship games in 1996 and 1999 and three seasons of 10-plus wins — including a franchise-best 14-2 mark in 1999. After being benched in 2003 for Byron Leftwich, Brunell bounced around with three other teams — Washington, New Orleans and the New York Jets.

Brunell remains the Jaguars’ all-time leader in wins (63), completions (2,184), attempts (3,616), passing yards (25,698) and touchdown passes (144).

–Field Level Media

Dec 17, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn watches game action against the Las Vegas Raiders during overtime at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Lions officially tab ex-Chargers coach Anthony Lynn as OC

The Detroit Lions officially announced Wednesday the hiring of former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn as the team’s offensive coordinator.

Lynn, 52, was fired by the Chargers earlier this month after four seasons at the helm. He posted a 33-31 overall record with the team, which went 7-9 in 2020.

In addition, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday that tight ends coach Ben Johnson is expected to remain in Detroit, while ESPN reports that Chicago Bears inside linebackers coach Mark DeLeone will leave to become the Lions’ linebackers coach.

The Lions’ staff has undergone significant change of late. Former New Orleans assistant head coach Dan Campbell, 44, was named as Detroit’s head coach and Saints secondary coach Aaron Glenn, 48, was tabbed as the Lions’ defensive coordinator.

In addition, multiple reports had veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford being granted permission by the team to seek an offseason trade.

Lynn had his best season with the Chargers in 2018, when Los Angeles went 12-4 and defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC wild card round. But the Chargers lost the next week to New England, ending their only playoff run of Lynn’s tenure.

Lynn served as the offensive coordinator with the Buffalo Bills prior to his stint with the Chargers.

The Lions were 5-11 in 2020 and last won a division championship in 1993, the NFL’s second-longest active drought between division titles behind the Cleveland Browns (1989).

–Field Level Media

Nov 3, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (L) warms up in front of assistant coach Duce Staley (R) before a game against the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Lions add Duce Staley as assistant head coach

Duce Staley is joining the Detroit Lions as assistant head coach and running backs coach, per multiple reports.

Staley held the same title with the Philadelphia Eagles under Doug Pederson, who was fired at the end of the 2020 season and replaced by Nick Sirianni. Staley interviewed for the position.

In Detroit, Staley joins Dan Campbell’s staff along with several other former NFL players. Campbell was a tight end and Aaron Glenn, the team’s defensive coordinator, played cornerback. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn was a running back in the league and most recently head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Staley asked out of his contract with the Eagles, according to reports.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said on Jan. 19 he received “quite a few” text messages from current and former players endorsing Staley to be the team’s head coach.

After a thorough interview process with nine known candidates, Lurie reportedly met with Staley to advise him of the team’s choice of Sirianni.

–Field Level Media