Detroit Lions cuts tracker: TE, DL coming into focus after Kevin Strong, Matt Sokol cut

Detroit Free Press

Stay here for all your updates as the Lions get down to their 53-man roster limit by 4 p.m. Saturday:

1:03 p.m. – NFL Network is reporting that that the Lions are releasing running back Jonathan Williams.

Williams signed late in the summer and played well early in camp, when the Lions were ravaged with injuries in their backfield. But he fumbled in the team’s controlled scrimmage last week and seemed to be lost in the backfield shuffle once D’Andre Swift and Bo Scarbrough returned.

Swift, Kerryon Johnson and Jason Huntley are roster locks, while Scarbrough, Ty Johnson and converted linebacker Jason Cabinda are vying for backup jobs.

Swift saw his workload increase last week and should be able to contribute in some capacity when the Lions open the season Sept. 13 against the Chicago Bears.

12:43 p.m. — Kevin Strong made the 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie last season, but the Lions will be placing him on waivers at 4 p.m. today.

Strong appeared in eight games and made five tackles last season and was in a pretty heated battle for a backup job this summer.

The Lions’ top five defensive linemen appear set, with Frank Herron, who they claimed off waivers after Strong got hurt last year, and seventh-round pick John Penisini among others competing for a backup job.

I put Strong on my 53-man roster prediction based off play last season, thinking the Lions might have an easier time getting someone like Penisini through to the practice squad. Obviously, the Lions don’t foresee that being an issue, as they’ve told Strong they’d like to bring him back on PS if he clears waivers.

12:30 p.m. — Former Michigan State tight end Matt Sokol will be among the Lions’ waiver cuts today.

Sokol got an extended look during training camp because of injuries to Isaac Nauta and Hunter Bryant, and I thought he played well when he was on the field.

Bryant, as mentioned earlier, is dealing with a hamstring injury, so that means Nauta could be in as the third tight end if the Lions keep three at that position (behind T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James).

The Lions are expected to bring Sokol back on practice squad.

The Lions also informed cornerback Dee Virgin and wide receiver Victor Bolden they will be part of today’s cuts.

Virgin was a special teams staple for the Lions last season and was taking first-team reps at gunner in practice as recently as Tuesday. The Lions do have a number of potential gunners on their roster, though, including first-round pick Jeff Okudah.

11:41 a.m. – The Lions have informed undrafted rookie safety Bobby Price that he’ll be placed on waivers later today. Price was a three-year starter at Norfolk State who was originally a Clemson commit back in high school.

Watching Price on the field this summer, he’s very raw, but at 6 feet 3 and 215 pounds – and taking into account he had no formal offseason program or even a college all-star game to play in – there are not many safeties like him.

I expect the Lions will bring him back on their 16-player practice squad Sunday.

10:58 a.m. — Just thinking out loud here: The Lions have a decision to make on tight end Hunter Bryant. An undrafted rookie out of Washington who showed good receiving skills at the start of camp, Bryant has missed about two weeks with a hamstring injury.

He seems like a candidate for injured reserve — the Lions are making plans to place someone on IR later today — but if the Lions hope to bring him back later in the season they’ll need to carry him on their 53-man roster through today’s cuts.

With that in mind, keep your eyes on the Lions’ cut list sometime after 4 p.m. today. for a veteran who won’t be in high demand but could re-sign Sunday night and play a backup role this fall.

On the cuts front, the Lions informed wide receiver Tom Kennedy he’d be released this morning. Kennedy was a long shot to make the roster, given the depth the Lions have at the receiver position.

7:26 a.m. — Good morning everyone, we’ll keep track of all the Detroit Lions’ roster moves today as they get down to the 53-man limit by 4 p.m.

Already this week, the Lions have let go of a couple wide receivers, Geremy Davis on Tuesday and Chris Lacy on Friday.

Neither move was a surprise as the Lions are fairly deep at the receiver position, with Quintez Cephus, Jamal Agnew and Marvin Hall legitimate contenders for backup roles behind starters Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola.

For subscribers: 11 reasons to believe in Lions as they wrap up training camp

Cephus, Agnew and Hall bring something different to table, with Cephus’ size and route-running prowess, Agnew’s return ability and Hall’s blazing speed making it possible the Lions keep all three on their roster.

We’ll find out in a few hours if that’s the case. For now, 25 more moves to go.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Lions content. 

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