The Detroit Lions have signed tight end Luke Willson to a one year deal, the team announced Wednesday morning. According to ESPN’s Adam Caplan, the deal is one year with $1.5 million guaranteed with the potential to reach over $2.5 million after incentives.
#Lions agreed to terms with TE Luke Willson for 1 season, $2.5m+ incentives.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 21, 2018
Luke Willson Signing One-Year Deal With Detroit Lions
Willson has spent all five of his years in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks, primarily playing as a number two tight end on the depth chart. Over that time, Willson has compiled 89 receptions for 1,129 yards. He also has experience playing on Seattle’s special teams unit.
Detroit Desperate for Tight End Help
The move comes after the Lions cut former first-round pick Eric Ebron last week before his 2018 salary of $8.5 million became guaranteed. Ebron had one year left on his rookie contract after the team picked up his fifth-year option last offseason.
Cutting Ebron left the Lions with next to no depth on the roster. All of the tight ends on the roster prior to Willson’s signing had a combined four receptions for 46 yards, all of which came from rookie Michael Roberts last season.
Willson, who grew up a Lions fan, comes home and brings with him much-needed experience to the Lions’ tight ends group.
Willson Only a Temporary Fix
While Willson is well ahead of the NFL learning curve compared to the rest of the tight ends on the Lions’ depth chart, he’s far from the end all be all answer for the Lions at tight end.
Willson’s most productive receiving year came in 2014, in which he only had 362 receiving yards. He has yet to come close to matching that since.
Willson’s contract says as much, as he’s only signed to one year deal — not to mention, at a rate much lower than number one tight ends have gone for this off-season. Expect to see the Lions add more help at the tight end position on days two or three of the draft.