The Lions announced the signing Thursday. Detroit also waived wide receiver Jordan Smallwood in a corresponding transaction.
Kearse, 29, had 37 catches for 371 yards and a score in 14 games last season for the Jets. The seven-year veteran entered the league as an undrafted free agent signing by the Seattle Seahawks in 2012. Kearse played for the Seahawks through 2016 before being traded to the Jets in September 2017.
The 6-foot-1, 209-pound pass-catcher was the No. 83 wide receiver in the NFL last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
Kearse has 255 receptions for 3,290 yards and 17 scores in 99 career games. He is likely to slide in behind fellow free agent signing Danny Amendola, Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay in the wide receivers' room.