Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
Detroit apparently isn’t planning to announce any of its roster moves Sunday, but here are a few thoughts on some of what’s been reported and confirmed to this point:
As waiver claims go, cornerback Marcus McCauley isn’t a bad pickup. He opened the 2007 season as Minnesota’s nickelback and has some coverage skills. But he isn’t much of a hitter, and if he ever helped the Vikings on special teams, I never saw it. So while he might upgrade the back end of the Lions’ depth chart, I don’t think he fits their dream scenario: stepping into the starting lineup so that cornerback Anthony Henry can move to safety.
If the New York Jets gave up anything more than a conditional seventh-round draft pick for quarterback Kevin O’Connell, then Lions general manager Martin Mayhew should be nominated for executive of the year. Claimed on waivers last week, O’Connell wasn’t going to be anything more than a No. 3 quarterback for the Lions -- and that’s if he somehow supplanted Daunte Culpepper or Drew Stanton on the roster. Mayhew brought O’Connell in for an extended tryout and wound up gaining an asset in return.
We don’t know yet whether Culpepper or Matthew Stafford will start the Sept. 13 season opener at New Orleans. But unless something changes over the next few days, Culpepper will receive a $2.25 million bonus for making the Lions’ opening-game roster. Culpepper was originally due the bonus in March but agreed to postpone it pending his performance during the offseason program and training camp.
Update: As it turns out, the Lions did confirm some of their moves Sunday, including the O’Connell trade. They also announced they released three players: Defensive end Ikaika Alama-Francis, cornerback Cletis Gordon and receiver Adam Jennings. By my math, that officially leaves their roster at 49 players. McCauley will fill one of those spots, as will former Baltimore punt/kickoff returner Yamon Figurs, whom the Lions also claimed on waivers, according to John Niyo of the Detroit News.
Finally, here are seven members of the Lions’ practice squad, which includes three of their 2009 draft choices: