The New England Patriots selected Roberts in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Marshall, but he never played in a regular-season game for the franchise. He went on injured reserve at the beginning of the 2015 campaign and was eventually waived before the start of the 2016 season.
The Jets claimed Roberts off waivers a day later. He has spent the last four seasons in New York, compiling 172 total tackles, three interceptions and 27 passes defensed in 56 career games.
Roberts becomes the fourth defensive player with Patriots connections to join the Lions this off-season, along with former New England defensive back Duron Harmon, linebacker Jamie Collins and defensive lineman Danny Shelton.