The Detroit Lions signed Josh Hill a few months back in free agency, but the tight end has pulled a surprise and will not suit up for the team. Instead, he’s set to retire.
Tuesday, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press revealed that Hill would be walking away from the game, leaving a gaping hole at tight end for the team at a spot on the roster that was already fairly thin.
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Per a source: Lions TE Josh Hill is retiring, which explains why the team is bringing Darren Fells in for a visit. Suddenly, another need at TE
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) May 4, 2021
Hill’s exit certainly explains the visit of Darren Fells on Tuesday, and the Lions could strike with a quick signing there if they believe Fells is their man to fill the hole. Otherwise, it’s a fairly bare market at tight end right now. Fells, Virgil Green who has a staff connection with Anthony Lynn, Geoff Swaim and Cole Wick who Dan Campbell coached in New Orleans might be the best options on the market for the team.
To say this news puts the Lions in a pinch is an understatement. If the team had known sooner, they could have drafted someone in the middle or late rounds. Instead, they will now be forced to find something on the open market in the days ahead.
Hill’s NFL Stats
At 30 years old, Hill looked like he was set to be an interesting addition for the Lions given what he has done in the league so far. Hill was likely going to be more of a blocking tight end, but he can make some catches too, given the fact that he has 1,071 yards and 15 touchdowns in his career. Hill came out of Idaho State in 2013 and has played his entire career in New Orleans until his recent release from the team this offseason.
Interestingly enough, Hill has a history making touchdown to his credit, having been on the receiving end of Drew Brees’ 540th touchdown pass, which broke Peyton Manning’s NFL record. In Detroit, Hill was going to be set to come in and add to the depth of a group that has seen departures and inconsistency in recent years and is looking for much better results in the future in terms of catching the ball and getting after it up front.
Hopefully, Hill’s retirement doesn’t have anything to do with poor health and is more of a personal decision.
Update on Lions Tight End Depth
This offseason, there’s been tons of moving parts for Detroit at tight end. The team signed Hill, which was thought to be a key move for the Lions given the fact that the team doesn’t have much in the form of depth. Jesse James was quickly released earlier this offseason. T.J. Hockenson is entrenched on the roster, but beyond that, there isn’t much at all. Hunter Bryant was injured much of last season which could have played a role in his perhaps falling out of favor with the new staff, and the team also signed Alize Mack early in free agency, but he doesn’t have any NFL production to rely on at this point in time.
Detroit could look at Fells as an interesting addition to a tight end room that could use a bit more depth for the 2021 season. It’s likely the team could land him on a team-friendly, short-term deal. That’s something which could make sense now given Hill’s apparently imminent departure.