Lions general manager Bob Quinn said after the team's Week 17 win over the Packers that Ebron would be retained in 2018, Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press reports. The Lions exercised Ebron's $8.25 million fifth-year option for 2018 last May, but the team could cut him with few repercussions before the new league year opens March 14. Though the Lions have since hired Matt Patricia as their new head coach, it appears Ebron, who has been criticized for drops over his four years in the league, remains in solid standing with the organization after a strong finish to this past season. Ebron hauled in 33 of 47 targets for 340 yards and two touchdowns over the Lions' final seven games, with his catch and yardage totals ranking second and third, respectively, on the team over that span.
Ebron brought in one of six targets for nine yards during Sunday's 35-11 victory over Green Bay. Ebron's up-and-down season ended on a low note, which was a disappointment to many after the 2010 first-rounder collected 20 receptions, 210 receiving yards and two scores in his previous three games. In fact, Ebron was in the midst of putting the finishing touches on a drastic turnaround from his horrid start to the season in which he averaged 17.0 receiving yards on a 50-percent catch rate across the season's first six contests -- with the perceived draft bust even drawing boos at home from Detroit fans on multiple occasions. However, after averaging 4.3 targets per game over that stretch, the Lions seemingly made a concerted effort to get him more involved over the second half the season. The increased workload seemingly worked wonders, as Ebron averaged 6.0 looks per tilt the rest of the way and upped his receiving average to 51.4 receiving yards on a 67-percent catch rate in the subsequent nine games. The Lions picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract last offseason and, while his salary is only guaranteed for injury, the team intends to keep Ebron around at his hefty $8.2 million price tag, according to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com.
Ebron (knee) was a full practice participant Friday and doesn't have a designation on the final injury report for Sunday's game against the Packers. A limited participant the previous two days, Ebron answered any questions by logging a full session to close out the week. He's been making the most of his time on the field in recent weeks, recording six consecutive games with four or more catches on 42 or fewer snaps. The Lions still don't seem to trust Ebron when it comes to blocking, but he's been targeted on a whopping 22.5 percent of his snaps during the six-game stretch, averaging 5.3 catches for 55 yards on 6.8 targets with a pair of scores.
Ebron practiced in a limited capacity Wednesday due to a knee issue. Ebron missed five games between the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to a pair of knee injuries, but a limited showing Wednesday would seem to imply he's not in much danger of sitting out Week 17 against the Packers. That said, an absence would be a hit to the Lions' passing attack. Over the last nine games, he's put up at least 33 receiving yards on each occasion while reaching the end zone three times. As a result, Ebron's status should be watched closely as the weekend draws closer.
Ebron caught five of eight targets for 83 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 26-17 loss to the Bengals. Ebron tied for the team lead in targets while leading the way in catches and receiving yards. He got the scoring started with a 33-yard touchdown grab in the first quarter for his second trip to the end zone in as many weeks. After topping three catches just once through the first nine games -- leading to intense trade speculation -- Ebron now has at least four receptions in each of the last six games and has his top two yardage outputs over the last three weeks. While the Lions are now eliminated from playoff contention, Ebron will look to cap off a strong finish to the season next week against the Packers.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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