One day after cutting James, Lions add veteran TE Josh Hill

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Justin Rogers, The Detroit News
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Mar. 13—Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell openly acknowledged familiarity would be a factor as the team reworked the roster this offseason and that assessment continues to come to fruition in the early stages of the process.

On Saturday, one day after releasing tight end Jesse James, the Lions signed a replacement, bringing aboard veteran Josh Hill.

Hill, 30, has spent the entirety of his eight-year career with the New Orleans Saints, where Campbell served as his position coach the past five seasons.

Undrafted out of Idaho State in 2013, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Hill has always been more of a block-first tight end. He's only caught more than 16 passes in a season once in his career, when he hauled in 25 for 226 yards and three scores in 2019.

The Saints released Hill, 30, earlier this month as part of the franchise's aggressive, but necessary salary cap purge.

Hill projects to replace James as the veteran complement to T.J. Hockenson, Detroit's first-round draft pick in 2019 who earned Pro Bowl honors after catching 67 passes for 723 yards and six scores last season.

Additionally, Detroit has a number of young options to vie for a third roster spot, including Hunter Bryant, an undrafted free agent from a year ago, and Alize Mack, a former top prospect, who was briefly with the Saints in 2019.