ALLEN PARK -- The Detroit Lions have taken their first major step toward cutting down their roster, officially parting with 13 players on Sunday afternoon.
Defensive lineman Christian Covington, offensive lineman Bobby Hart, offensive lineman Germain Ifedi, receiver Jason Moore and running back Devine Ozigbo were all released outright, while receiver Trinity Benson, receive Avery Davis, offensive lineman Obinna Eze, tight end Daniel Helm, offensive lineman Alex Mollette, safety Scott Nelson, offensive lineman Darrin Paulo and cornerback Colby Richardson were all waived.
There are no surprises in any of that. Benson is the biggest name of the bunch, a high-speed receiver who was acquired in a trade with Denver just months after Brad Holmes took over in 2021. The Lions were rail-thin at receiver back then, and believed Benson would be the best wideout available after roster cuts that summer. So instead of risking losing him on the waiver wire, Holmes offered Denver a fifth- and seventh-round pick for Benson. Detroit also got a sixth-round pick in return.
“When I first watched the tape, I was like, ‘Wow,’” Holmes once said of the trade. “He popped off. He had juice. He had explosiveness. His upside as a route runner gets you really excited for a young guy. And then the more work you do from an intangibles standpoint -- he’s a tough kid that’s a hard worker. He’s smart, does things the right way.”
But Benson never developed the way Detroit had hoped, due in part to a string of injuries that kept him off the field. He caught just 10 of his 22 targets for 103 yards in two seasons with the organization. Then he suffered another injury that kept him off the field for most of training camp this summer, preventing him from making moves in the wide-open competition for the final one or two jobs at receiver. Rookies Dyland Drummond, Chase Cota and Antoine Green are the leading candidates for the final job(s) behind Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond, Josh Reynolds and Marvin Jones to open the season.
The Lions have also cut ties with Ifedi, a former first-round pick who has started 83 games over the last seven seasons. Ifedi was competing with Matt Nelson for the top backup job at offensive tackle. At this point, it seems Nelson will return for another season of backing up Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell, while serving as the extra tackle in jumbo formations.
Hart, Moore, Ozigbo, Davis, Helm, Mollette, Nelson and Richardson were all cut after joining the team in the middle of camp.
Detroit’s roster now stands at 75 players, leaving 22 moves to go before the NFL imposes a 53-man limit at 4 p.m. Tuesday.