Detroit Lions possibly set to sign USFL tight end amid injuries at the position

With Shane Zystra out awhile and Sam LaPorta banged up, the Lions have signed a tight end who most recently played in the USFL.
Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Monday's practice was a tough on in terms of injuries at the tight end position for the Detroit Lions. Rookie Sam LaPorta left practice early for an undisclosed reason, and Shane Zylstra may miss six months after taking a hit to the knee from cornerback Khalil Dorsey.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported via Twitter, then deleted, that the Lions have signed tight end Daniel Helm. Maybe it's a semantics issue. The team may not be ready to announce the move, in concert with what is sure to be a dire health update on Zylstra from head coach Dan Campbell on Wednesday morning before the team hits the practice field.

So let's tentatively, pending confirmation the Lions will sign him, take a closer look at Helm.

Helm went undrafted out of Duke in 2019. He has spent time with the Chargers, 49ers (twice), Chiefs, Buccaneers, Raiders and Falcons over that time, mostly on practice squads, catching one pass in an NFL regular season game.

Helm spent the 2023 USFL season with the Memphis Showboats, with 20 receptions for 205 yards.

Detroit Lions training camp: Daniel Helm would define the term "camp body"

Helm would be a longshot to make the Lions' roster, if he is signed, and he'd also be a longshot to be wanted back on the practice squad. But with Zylstra out for the season if Monday night's report holds true, and caution the obvious word with whatever injury LaPorta might be dealing with, a body is needed at tight end.

If there was serious concern about LaPorta's injury, a more notable move to add a tight end would presumably be happening. That it may be Helm who is signed, or it seems likely to be someone of his ilk if it's not him, is telling in that sense.

Next. 5 players who are the most critical to Detroit Lions success in 2023. 5 players who are the most critical to Detroit Lions success in 2023. dark