The deal comes one day after Detroit released Kennard with one year remaining on his contract. Kennard was potentially made expendable when the Lions agreed to terms with former New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins, crowding Detroit's linebacker unit.
Kennard, who left the Giants to sign with the Lions in 2018, started 30 of the 31 games he played with Detroit. He tied for the team-high in sacks last season, with seven, and was fifth on the team with 58 tackles. He also had a total of 30 quarterback pressures.
Kennard, who turns 29 in June, was initially a fifth-round pick out of USC by the Giants in 2014 and has started at least six games a season every year of his career. He has played in 83 NFL games, starting 65, and has played mostly coming off the edge as a stand-up linebacker.
Off the field, Kennard was one of the most active Lions players in the community. He was named a team captain and was the team's nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award last year for working with the Midnight Golf Program and the Lions' social justice initiatives.
ESPN's Michael Rothstein contributed to this report.