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Detroit Lions re-sign TE Shane Zylstra

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By: Erik Schlitt

Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

After suffering a training camp injury and missing all of 2023, tight end Shane Zylstra is back with the Detroit Lions for 2024.

With agency less than a week away, the Detroit Lions are working toward retaining some of their players, and on Monday afternoon, they announced that they have re-signed tight end Shane Zylstra.

Zylstra joined the Lions in 2021, splitting his time between the practice squad and the active roster. He played 17 games over the first two seasons in Detroit, starting two, but did not play in 2023 after suffering a season-ending knee injury in training camp.

“He was a pivotal part of our success last year once we started turning the corner,” coach Dan Campbell said of Zylstra back in August. “And he just does everything right, man. He works, he’s a grinder.”

With Zylstra re-joining the team, the Lions now have three tight ends on the roster: Zylstra, All-Pro Sam LaPorta, and James Mitchell. Brock Wright, who was on the active roster last season, is currently a restricted free agent, while Anthony Firkser is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

The Lions could feel comfortable walking into training camp with just the three tight ends currently on their roster, but they appear interested in bringing back Wright and could be looking to add depth/competition either in free agency or the NFL Draft.

One final technical point: Zylstra was scheduled to be an exclusive rights free agent (ERFA), but his return was announced as a “re-signing”, meaning they signed him to a traditional contract, as opposed to using the tender. It’s possible the Lions did this to give Zylstra a differently structured contract (like adding in a signing bonus, guarantees, and/or incentives), or it’s possible the ERFA designation was removed for other reasons (like at the player’s request).

Follow along with all the Lions’ signings, re-signings, and releases with our 2024 Detroit Lions offseason tracker.

Originally posted on Pride Of Detroit