The 25-year-old former Nebraska Cornhusker showed burst and speed on the edge as a rookie, compiling 597 yards on 4.2 yards per carry in nine starts. Injuries all but wiped out his second season. The 2017 campaign was a cluster of inconsistency as he earned a middling 3.3 yards per tote. The Lions had the infamous streak of sub-100-yard rushing games with Abdullah on the roster -- a streak Johnson broke this season.
Despite the struggles, it wouldn't be a surprise if a team in need of a running back gave a shot to a speedy potential dual-threat back with experience. The Lions had some trade talks before the deadline, per Rapoport, but nothing came to fruition.
Adding Ellington to the roster provides a slot receiver to help make try to up for the trade of Tate. The 27-year-old played 66 percent of his snaps from the slot with the Houston Texans last year and again in three games this season, per Next Gen Stats. Ellington can be a reliable possession receiver when healthy, but no one would confuse him for Tate in terms of YAC ability.