On a day where it seemed everyone around the NFL was losing their job, the Detroit Lions decided that their 5th-year tight end, Eric Ebron, was worth bringing back in 2018. According to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com, the Lions will owe Ebron $8.2 million based on his preceding rookie contract.
Through the first eight games of the season, Ebron’s production was nearly non-existent. He was averaging just two catches per game and had only found pay dirt once. This of course allowed for the narrative surround Ebron’s “draft bust” status to remain in full force. To which, he didn’t seem to care what we thought.
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But, in the final four games of the season, Ebron really turned it on. Over those four games, he averaged 4.2 catches per game, including a 10 catch effort against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This effort over the last quarter of the season most likely prompted General Manager Bob Quinn’s decision.
According to Quinn,
“Eric had a good year…I think Eric, really, the last seven or eight weeks of the season really turned it on. When you look at his playing time, it actually went down over the course of the season, but his production went up. So I think he was used effectively. He gained some confidence over the course of the season, and he performed better.”
When Quinn was asked if Ebron’s turnaround was enough for the Lions to bring him back in 2018, his response seemed pretty clear.
“Yeah, he’s under contract with a tender,” Quinn said.
There is little doubt that Ebron has been much maligned as a member of the Detroit Lions. Call it the curse of his draft pick, his nonchalant attitude off the field, or his issue fumbling the ball at key points in the game, #85 in the Honolulu Blue hasn’t been a fan favorite. But maybe the corner is being turned. Maybe, just maybe, the front office believes in him, and based on his performance over the last half of this season, we should start to believe in him too. Because, like it or not, Eric Ebron will be the Lions tight end next year.