Allen Park, Mich. – The Detroit Lions announced today that they have tendered the following exclusive rights free agents: DE Brandon Copeland, DE Kerry Hyder and WR TJ Jones.
Copeland enters his third NFL season after appearing in all 16 games the last two seasons for the Lions. He made his first-career start in 2016 and finished the year with 11 tackles (seven solo) and one forced fumble, as well as five special teams tackles.
An undrafted rookie free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 out of Pennsylvania, Copeland spent time as a member of the Ravens (2013) and Tennessee Titans (2013-14) practice squads prior to Detroit. His career totals include 32 games (one start), 19 tackles (13 solo), one forced fumble and 11 special teams tackles.
After spending the majority of the 2015 season as a member of the Lions practice squad, Hyder emerged last season to lead the Detroit defense with a career-high eight sacks. He recorded two multi-sack games (2.0, 9/11 at Ind; 2.0, 11/6 at Min) and finished the season with 36 total tackles (23 solo), one fumble recovery and one pass defense.
Hyder entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Texas Tech in 2014 and spent his rookie season as a member of the New York Jets practice squad. He received the Lions’ 2016 Chuck Hughes Most Improved Player Award as voted by his teammates.
Jones appeared in three games in 2016 after beginning the season on the Lions practice squad. He finished the season with five receptions for 93 yards, including a career-long 36-yard reception at New Orleans (12/4).
The Lions’ sixth-round (189th overall) draft selection in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame, Jones has appeared in 13 career games after missing his rookie season due to injury. His career totals include 15 receptions for 225 yards (15.0 avg) and one touchdown.