HomeFootball DirtThe Lions Release DL Isaiah Buggs

The Lions Release DL Isaiah Buggs

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Alim McNeill is eligible to come off injured reserve this week, and Dan Campbell said the ascending interior defensive lineman has a chance to do so. While McNeill has not been designated for return yet, the Lions made another move that points to that happening soon.

Detroit is waiving veteran D-tackle Isaiah Buggs, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets. Thanking the city of Detroit, Buggs said this departure is best for him. This could point to Buggs having asked to be cut. It is rather interesting the Lions will cut a player who has been a regular with McNeill out, but Buggs had been a healthy scratch during points prior to McNeill’s injury.

The Lions gave Buggs two one-year contracts over the past two offseasons, adding him initially in July 2022 and circling back in March 2023. This cut is also interesting given Buggs’ two-year deal. The Lions had him signed through 2024 on a two-year, $4.5MM pact. That deal came with $2.1MM fully guaranteed, but no guaranteed money remains on the contract beyond this season. If no team claims the fifth-year veteran by Wednesday, the Lions would owe Buggs only one more game check on this accord. For waiver purposes, the Alabama alum is due a $2.1MM base salary next season.

Buggs, 27, has been active for 10 games this season. In those contests, he has played 40% of Detroit’s defensive snaps, working ahead of third-round rookie Brodric Martin, who has seen action in just three games. Pro Football Focus views this season as Buggs’ most productive work. The advanced metrics site slots the former Steeler as a mid-pack interior D-lineman (60th overall) this season. Buggs made 13 starts last year, racking up a career-high 46 tackles and 10 QB hits. This season, those numbers are way down (12, 1).

McNeill suffered a knee sprain in early December, but the emerging third-year talent had been viewed as likely to come back this season. Without McNeill, the Lions have used John Cominsky, Benito Jones, Levi Onwuzurike as D-line regulars this season. Buggs represents a decent depth piece, but the NFC North champions will move forward without him.

The Buggs move is now official, while the Lions also announced they re-signed fullback Jason Cabinda to their practice squad. Despite using an IR activation on Cabinda last week, the Lions waived him. Clearing waivers will keep Cabinda in Detroit. The Lions are soon set to use two more of their remaining IR activations on McNeill and C.J. Gardner-Johnson, with the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers noting the team has an open roster spot thanks to the Buggs cut. Detroit has four IR-return moves remaining.

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