NFL notes: Lions acquire receiver Thomas from Jags

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Mike Thomas (C) catches the ball against the defense of Green...

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Mike Thomas (C) catches the ball against the defense of Green Bay Packers cornerback Casey Hayward (L) in the second half during their NFL football game in Green Bay, Wisconsin October 28, 2012. Packers defeated the Jaguars 24-15. (REUTERS)

JOHN KRYK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:26 PM ET

The Detroit Lions have acquired a slot receiver to help replace the production of Nate Burleson, who broke his right leg a week ago in Chicago.

With the NFL's Thursday trade deadline looming, the Lions on Tuesday acquired Mike Thomas from the Jacksonville Jaguars, reports said.

The trade, however, hinges on Thomas passing a physical. ESPN reported the Lions are giving the Jags a mid-round draft pick in return.

Burleson had been the second most prolific target opposite all-pro Calvin Johnson the past couple of years for quarterback Matthew Stafford. But Burleson is now gone for the season.

With only second-year man Titus Young (another slot) and rookie Ryan Broyles as potential playmakers at wide receiver, the Lions obviously felt they needed another.

Young has the athleticism to be an NFL star in the slot, and likely will be Stafford's go-to man after Johnson.

Thomas likely will back up Young, or join the others in four-wideout sets. He is a 5-foot-8 fourth-year man who had 44 catches for 415 yards last year in Jacksonville.

But Thomas saw his production drop this season after the drafting of Justin Blackmon, the first receiver taken in the draft (fifth overall). Thomas has only 13 catches for 80 yards.

Perhaps what the Lions saw is that Thomas caught 66 balls for 820 yards in 2010 -- before the arrival and insertion into the starting lineup last year of quarterback Blaine Gabbert. In 1 1/2 seasons, Gabbert has struggled mightily to complete passes to anyone as an NFLer.

The league's trade deadline was delayed 48 hours -- until 4 p.m. EDT on Thursday -- because of Hurricane Sandy.

JACKSON STILL A RAM

Perhaps the player most talked about as potential trade bait is St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson. But head coach Jeff Fisher on Tuesday said the "rumours are rumours. He's our running back. We're not calling around, nor are we getting calls, for that matter. So, I'll put that to rest."

NICKS NIXED

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed all-pro guard Carl Nicks on injured reserve Tuesday, effectively ending his season.

Nicks requires surgery to repair a torn plantar plate in his left toe. He started all seven games after signing with the Bucs as a free agent in March.

It's a huge blow to Tampa Bay, whose offence had been on fire the past three games. The Bucs line has been opening big holes for rookie running back Doug Martin, and has given up the fifth fewest sacks in the league (11).

Since entering the NFL in 2008 and playing four seasons in New Orleans, Nicks had never missed a game.

He signed a five-year, $47-million contract with the Bucs.

KAEDING CUT

The San Diego Chargers released placekicker Nate Kaeding from the injured reserve list, making him an unrestricted free agent. He was placed on IR a week ago, three weeks after hurting his groin. Kaeding was seven-for-seven on field goals in three September games. In his nine seasons with the Chargers he had never made fewer than 80% of his kicks, although he missed virtually all of last season after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament on the opening kickoff of the opener.

EXTRA POINTS: Paul Tagliabue as of early Tuesday evening had not rescheduled his postponed appeals hearing with the four suspended players in the bounty scandal. It was to have taken place Tuesday, but Hurricane Sandy forced its postponement ... The league told ProFootballTalk.com that the game Sunday between the host New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium in hurricane-ravaged New Jersey would continue as planned. The stadium suffered no damage, but there were concerns that ticket-holders might not all be able to make it ... The St. Louis Rams placed safety Matt Daniels on injured reserve after tests revealed he injured an ACL in London against the Pats.

John.kryk@sunmedia.ca

@JohnKryk blogs.canoe.ca/krykslants/


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