The Lions’ former center looks like he finally found a new home.
It’s been a month since we’ve heard anything about the fate of former Detroit Lions center Travis Swanson. It was pretty clear that the Lions had little interest in bringing back the young offensive lineman, but it was a bit surprising to hear so little interest from other teams.
That changed on Tuesday morning, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that the New York Jets are expected to sign Swanson:
The #Jets are planning to sign #Lions free agent C Travis Swanson, sources say. The former third rounder recently visited NYJ and provides excellent depth inside.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 3, 2018
A former third-round pick, Swanson was the Lions’ starting center for the past three years. His play was wildly inconsistent. In his first year as a starter he looked like a pretty big downgrade from Detroit’s long-time starting center Dominic Raiola. However, he had a sizable bounceback year in 2016, making some doubters (see here) quiet down. But in 2017 he again struggled as the Lions’ offensive line just couldn’t seem to get things together despite a pretty solid lineup.
Then there was the concussion issue. Swanson missed the last fives games (including the playoffs) during the 2016 season and another three at the end of 2017 with two separate concussions. Interestingly enough, Swanson’s camp denies that he suffered a concussion last year, but whatever the ailment, the Lions thought he was unfit to play in the crucial stretch at the end of the year.
Now that Swanson is expected to sign elsewhere, the Lions no longer have their top three picks from the 2014 NFL Draft. Tight end Eric Ebron signed with the Colts earlier this offseason and Kyle Van Noy was traded to the Patriots a couple years back. In fact, the Lions have retained just two players from that eight-player draft class: cornerback Nevin Lawson and receiver TJ Jones.