The Detroit Lions are bidding farewell to a former first-round pick, as well as a former All-Pro return man. Linebacker Jarrad Davis and wide receiver Jamal Agnew have agreed to deals with other teams on Monday.
Davis, the team’s first-round pick in 2017, is headed to the New York Jets on a one-year, prove-it deal, according to a source familiar with the agreement.
Agnew, meanwhile, scored a three-year agreement from the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he’ll reconnect with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. That signing, which can become official on Wednesday, was first reported by the NFL Network.
The selection of Davis in 2017 plugged the Lions’ biggest roster hole at the time, giving them an athletic middle linebacker. Unfortunately, he was never able to live up to his lofty draft position.
Immediately slotted into the starting lineup, the Lions were forced to reduce Davis’ role by the end of his first season because of his struggles in coverage. He showed clear improvement in that area the next year, while also showcasing newfound ability as a blitzer, racking up six sacks in his first season playing under Matt Patricia.
But Davis proved unable to maintain his momentum. Year 3 was derailed by an ankle injury in the preseason, which lingered throughout the campaign and limited his effectiveness.
The Lions declined the fifth-year option on Davis’ rookie contract heading into the 2020 season before significantly reducing his role. Two years after playing nearly every defensive snap, he was on the field fewer than 30 percent last season.
But Davis, a three-year captain, never publicly complained about his role. He’ll now look to revitalize his once-promising career with the Jets, under new coach Robert Saleh.
Agnew, a fifth-round pick in that same draft, earned All-Pro honors as a rookie as the league’s top punter returner, averaging 15.4 yards per attempt and scoring twice. Despite some struggles with ball security, he’s largely remained one of the league’s top special team players, scoring a total of five touchdowns, including a 74-yard punt return last year.
According to the NFL Network, the three-year contract is worth up to $21 million.
A cornerback to begin his career, Agnew struggled to port over his playmaking abilities from college. After three seasons, the Lions shifted him to offense, making him a wide receiver. Playing sparingly in the new role, he caught 13 passes for 89 yards and carried the ball six times for 33 more yards last season.
Lions cut Dahl
Clearing out more cap space ahead of the start of the new league year on Wednesday, the Lions released offensive lineman Joe Dahl. The move opens up $2.9 million.
Dahl, a fifth-round pick in 2016, played sparingly his first three seasons before earning the starting job and a contract extension heading into the 2019 season. He performed well as the team’s left guard, but ended the season on injured reserve due to a back injury.
Returning to the starting lineup last season, injuries once again proved to be an issue. He missed time early in the year with a groin injury, ceding his starting spot in the process.
Dahl made a spot start at center late in the season after Frank Ragnow suffered a fracture to cartilage in his throat, but Dahl’s back once again proved problematic, knocking him out of the season finale.
Dahl was released with a failed physical designiation.