Four moves the Detroit Lions could make to improve but will not.

Detroit Lions (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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A safety for the future

Obi Melifonwu is one season removed from being a second round pick. The Raiders are clearly done with him, having waived/injured him yesterday. Assuming nobody picks him up on waivers, which they will not due to his hip injury, the Lions should investigate this talented player.

Melifonwu is an athletic freak. He is 6’4″ and 224 lbs. He ran a 4.40 40 yard dash at the 2017 NFL combine, in addition to jumping out of the stadium. Many, including spotrac, are incorrectly reporting that Malifonwu has been cut. Teams can not just cut an injured player in the NFL.

That is not how waived/injured works. The player reverts immediately to the team’s injured reserve list if he is not claimed by another team on waivers within 24 hours of the move. The team still owns the player’s rights unless someone takes him. The player is still under contract as if it had never happened, they are simply on IR.

They need to come to an injury settlement with the player and release him from injured reserve in order to actually cut him. Until we hear that press release from the Raiders, Melifonwu is an injured player under contract with the team. If his hip injury is serious enough to actually threaten the season, he will not sign any injury settlement.

The Raiders, however, would clearly like someone to take Melifonwu off their hands. The NFL also made a rule change earlier this year allowing a player to be traded while on injured reserve. The Browns made a lot of moves this offseason to simply get rid of players that their new management team did not want. Jon Gruden clearly does not want Obi Melifonwu.

It is possible that the Lions could have Melifonwu for a conditional 2021 seventh round pick, just so the Raiders can be rid of him. The only question regarding whether they should or not is a medical one. The Lions medical staff would have to sign off on the deal. Hip injuries are no small matter.