Holding a capable player on the practice squad always carries that risk, and at times the Detroit Lions have signed someone to their active roster to prevent it from happening. But on Wednesday, the Tennessee Titans signed defensive tackle Quinton Bohanna to their active roster off the Lions' practice squad.
In a corresponding move, the Lions have re-signed defensive tackle Chris Smith to their practice squad. Smith was on Detroit's practice squad at the start of the season, before being released in October.
A nine-game starter for the Dallas Cowboys in 2022, Bohanna was an interesting addition to the Lions' practice squad in late-August. He was elevated from the practice squad for three straight games (Week 11-13), playing 26, 22 and 25 snaps respectively and doing fairly well.
But three standard practice squad elevations are the maximum before someone has to be added to the active roster if a team wants to play him again. The Lions did not do that before last week's game against the Bears, choosing to role with Isaiah Buggs and a little bit of Levi Onwuzurike and Brodric Martin instead with Alim McNeill on IR.
Lions lose Quinton Bohanna to Tennessee Titans
Bohanna is not a star, but he was a space eater for the Lions' interior defensive line and at one point Dan Campbell noted how he was a key cog in a stout run defense.
"Bohanna’s a load in there, he is,” Campbell said. “And when he does things right and he plays with pad level and uses footwork and stays consistent, he’s a load, he’s hard to move.”
Bohanna (6-foot-4, 338 pounds) was better than Buggs, and really any Lions' defensive tackle this side of McNeill, this season during his three-game run. But that was not good enough to get him signed to the active roster when that was the only option if they wanted to keep playing him, and they accepted the risk he would get poached by another team.
The looming addition of defensive tackle Tyson Alualu to the active roster from the practice squad likely played a role in what was done with Bohanna from a roster procedure standpoint. But losing him could eventually look bad for the Lions.