The Detroit Lions waived former University of Hawaii star linebacker and 2019 second-round pick Jahlani Tavai today as NFL teams reduced their roster to 53 players.
Tavai was among a handful of Hawaii players released or waived today.
The others cut today were former UH receivers Rico Bussey by the Steelers, Keith Kirkwood by the Panthers and Marcus Kemp by the Chiefs, former UH defensive backs Trayvon Henderson by the Bengals and Rojersterman Farris by the Packers, and former Hawaii high school defensive linemen Breiden Fehoko (Farrington) by the Chargers and Hercules Mataafa (Lahainaluna) by the Vikings.
Tavai started six of 15 games in 2019 and 10 of 16 games in 2020. In his rookie year, the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder had 58 tackles (37 solo), with five tackles for loss and two sacks. In 2020, he had 58 tackles (32 solo), with two tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.
Under new coach Dan Campbell, the Lions attempted to reform Tavai’s body type and bring out some speed, according to prideofdetroit.com. Tavai lost over 20 pounds to get to where the Lions wanted him to be, the website reported, but he still did not seem to adjust to a defense that required more speed and instincts on the field.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Lions attempted to trade Tavai but found no takers.
Other big names who were released Tuesday included:
>> Former NFL MVP Cam Newton, whom the Patriots cut loose to clear the way for rookie Mac Jones, the 15th pick out of Alabama.
>> Speedy receiver John Brown, who was signed by the Raiders this offseason to a one-year deal with $3.24 million guaranteed.
>> Wide receiver Travis Fulgham, who had an excellent five-game stretch for the Eagles last season before disappearing from the offense. Philadelphia also cut veteran running back Jordan Howard. Several teams made trades to reach the roster limit:
>> The Chiefs traded offensive lineman Yasir Durant to the Patriots for a 2022 seventh-round pick.
>> The Eagles dealt offensive lineman Matt Pryor and a seventh-round pick in 2022 to the Colts for a sixth-rounder.
>> The Lions got wide receiver Trinity Benson and a 2023 sixth-round pick from Denver for fifthand seventh-round draft picks in 2022.
>> The Niners traded linebacker Jonas Griffith to Denver for a sixth-round pick. The deal also includes a swap of seventh-rounders.
>> The Jets sent tight end Chris Herndon and a sixth-round pick in 2002 to the Vikings for a fourth-rounder.