Lions to Release Former 2nd Round Pick in Stunning Move: Report

Kerryon Johnson

Getty Kerryon Johnson running the ball against Kansas City.

The Detroit Lions spent the weekend sprucing up their roster, and the moves included the drafting of a new running back in Jermar Jefferson. That news perhaps made it a bit easier for the team to move on from somebody, and the other shoe dropped Wednesday night with Kerryon Johnson.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Lions are releasing Johnson from the roster. The move comes just days after the draft and the selection of Jefferson in the seventh-round.

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To say Johnson was blindsided by this move would likely be a bit of an understatement. Just days ago he was tweeting about greeting his new teammates and now he finds himself heading into free agency. Such is the case in the NFL, which does always tend to mean “not for long.” Releasing Johnson will save the team $1.3 million dollars this season.

Johnson will now become one of the top free agents on the market thanks to his age and ability level. It will be fascinating to see where he lands next.


Johnson’s Stats and Career Highlights

The Lions traded up for Johnson in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Auburn, and the hope was he would become the future at running back. In his rookie season, Johnson rushed for 641 yards and 3 scores. The year after, he rushed for 403 yards and 3 scores. Last season, Johnson saw his numbers dwindle further, and he was merely a 181 yard rusher with 2 scores. The steady downward turn was not something the Lions wanted to see. Even such, Johnson was solid in pass protection and was a good player for the locker room, making such a move tough to swallow.

Perhaps most famously, Johnson helped break the 100 yard rusher curse in his rookie season, which was a moment all Lions fans had waited for and will remember, given the last rusher to run for that total in a game prior to Johnson was Reggie Bush back in 2014.


Lions Running Back Depth Helped Johnson Release

This move is a mild surprise only because of the fact that Johnson was established and a solid pass protector. Other than that, there was a question of where his snaps were going to come from in 2021. The Lons signed Jamaal Williams and have D’Andre Swift on the roster, who many believe is trending toward being a future star. Bringing Jermar Jackson into the mix likely only complicated matters more for the Lions, who have a ton of depth suddenly at running back. Johnson was likely never going to see the big role that was expected in Detroit, thus the team decided to pull the plug and give Johnson a chance at a fresh start somewhere else.

Watching Johnson the person go will be tough, but it’s good for him to see a chance somewhere he will get a shot to get more touches. It’s clear that was never going to happen in Detroit.

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