2021 NFL free company: The 10 best remaining fits for the Detroit Lions
ALLEN PARK – Most of the free agent market has been taken over by this point, but the Detroit Lions are entering this stage with additional cap space of $ 15 million and more than a few needs.
New Lions quarterback Jared Goff has restructured his deal, converting $ 20 million of his salary into a signing bonus that spans the full five years of his contract. That move currently creates a $ 15 million cap space while likely holding Goff and the Lions together for at least the next two seasons. The restructured deals for Goff and Jamie Collins combined with Desmond Trufant, Justin Coleman, Christian Jones, Joe Dahl, Chase Daniel, Jesse James and Danny Shelton’s releases resulted in a ceiling of more than $ 44 million.
Detroit has not been among the most active donors in the past two weeks and clearly showed its hand of rebuilding. The Lions kicked off the League’s New Year by signing Romeo Okwara again for three years for $ 39 million. They then kept linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, cornerback Mike Ford and long snapper Don Muhlbach.
New additions are Jamaal Williams, quarterback Tim Boyle, Josh Hill, kicker Randy Bullock, linebacker Alex Anzalone, edge rusher Charles Harris, defenseman Michael Brockers and the quick receivers Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Caliph Raymond and Damion Ratley.
Related: Early Detroit Lions Depth Map: Strengths, Weaknesses, Gaps to Fill After First Wave of Free Hand ($)
NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Lions remain tied to top recipient Micah Parsons after recent moves
Lions need depth in more than a few places, including the receiver, linebacker, and secondary. Anzalone fills a hole by the linebacker, but that’s far from a complete room. Lions general manager Brad Homes and coach Dan Campbell have made it clear that they want to compete with secondary school by finding players to push Jeff Okudah, Amani Oruwariye, Tracy Walker and Will Harris.
Let’s take a closer look at 10 free agents that make sense for the Detroit Lions:
WR Dede Westbrook
The Lions were busy adding quick playmakers who kill in the middle and cross routes to their recipient corps. All of this affects Goff’s strengths and is clearly something the team wants to capitalize on.
While the Lions signed three recipients and are still tied to the top names in the draft, Dede Westbrook makes too much sense. He’s unlikely to break the bank with his recent injury history. Even so, he showed enough lightning bolts to get another chance with a rebuilding team like Breshad Perriman and Charles Harris. The 27-year-old Westbrook was eliminated from Oklahoma in the fourth round in 2017. He was limited to two games last year and only had a 4 yard pass. But before that? He has had more than 100 goals two seasons in a row, scoring 132 passes for 1,377 yards and eight touchdowns in that time. Westbrook had more than 300 yards after the catch in 2018 and 2019, averaging 5.5 and 4.8 yards after the catch per reception.
S Malik Hooker
Injuries have derailed Malik Hooker’s career after Security missed 14 games last season due to an Achilles injury. Hooker was Pick 15 at the Colts in 2017. He’s still made a solid contribution on the field but has not played more than 14 games in any of his four seasons, which is why his name is still on the market. However, in his first three seasons, Hooker has intercepted seven passes, deflected eleven passes and fixed two bugs in 34 games. He is someone who has consistently shown an impressive level of ball awareness when it is available.
It’s important to note that Hooker is only 25, which means he’s more than worth a chance on a rebuild team. Indy turned down his option for the fifth year around this time last year. Pro Football Focus predicted that Hooker would land a $ 2 million one-year deal this off-season. He’s also someone who can make Tracy Walker play closer to the ball.
CB Steven Nelson
Steven Nelson was released last week after the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to find a trading partner. Nelson has 82 games and 68 starts in six seasons, intercepting seven passes over the previous three. He has proven to be a long-lived, consistent cornerback and would be someone who could push Okudah and Oruwariye. PFF reports Nelson allowed a passport rating of 82.3 when targeted, finishing 44th out of 136 eligible cornerbacks. Its degree of completion of 53.5% is sixth among the corners in which at least 150 goals per analysis site have been covered since 2018.
AND Trai Turner
That possible match depends on how Detroit’s new regime feels about security guard Logan Stenberg. The big Kentucky man was a fourth round election last year but was inactive for most of the season and only saw the field for seven special-teamed snaps. Co-rookie guard Jonah Jackson impressed, but the Lions lost Oday Aboushi freehand to the Chargers, potentially putting Stenberg on the depth map.
If this makes new hires uncomfortable, keep an eye on someone like Trai Turner. The five-time Pro Bowl Guard started nine games for the new Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn in Los Angeles last season. It was his first year in the league outside of Carolina, and it wasn’t going too well. Now he was looking for a new team. Before Turner played just nine games last year, he’d started at least 13 for five years in a row. He is only 27 years old and already has five Pro Bowls in his luggage. During this free hand phase, he might be looking for a short-term deal with the prospect of game time, especially after PFF ranked him the last of the guards last season.
CB Casey Hayward
Another former multiple pro bowler with ties to Lynn is cornerback Casey Hayward. He has played for the Chargers for the last five seasons, starting 75 games while missing just two games. Hayward led the NFL with seven interceptions in 2016, the same number of passes he’s received over the four seasons combined. He’s also someone who can eat snaps from the slot, an area of need since Justin Coleman and Darryl Roberts signed elsewhere. Hayward, 31, played at Green Bay for the first four years of his career and intercepted six passes as a rookie in 2012. Another potential high school veteran presence with a knack for knowing where the ball is.
LB BJ Goodson
BJ Goodson is another player who flies under the radar as someone who improves their game of cover while remaining a safer attacker with an elevated role. Goodson had 91 tackles and two interceptions in 14 starts last season and threw another six passes away. He will be 28 years old by next season and could make a fairly inexpensive contribution. PFF reports that Goodson has only missed 13 tackles since joining the league, an area Lions have struggled with in recent years.
EDGE Adrian Clayborn
The Lions are unlikely to break the bank with their newly found cap space on another Edge Rusher, with Romeo Okwara’s new deal and Trey Flowers and his $ 90 million contract on the other. Behind these two? Julian Okwara and Austin Bryant; Two current drafts of the previous regime that tried to stay healthy. Detroit also added Charles Harris, the former first round player, to a one-year contract, leaving more than enough room for a permanent veteran presence. Adrian Clayborn’s game took a step back last season with more snapshots, making the 32-year-old better suited for a rotating role. He had 3.5 sacks in 15 Cleveland games, registered only 27 pressures, and didn’t make much of an impact on the run. His top season came when he was with the Falcons in 2017, posting 9.5 sacks in 16 games.
DT Kawann Short
The name of Kawann Short came to mind when I was finding the veteran depth for the line of defense. The former elite center-back has been slowed down by injuries in recent years, which could make him prime evidence of a rebuilding team working on a budget. Detroit restructured Nick Williams’ deal, signed the newly acquired Michael Brockers for an expansion, but similar to the outside, the inside remains without great depth. Da’Shawn Hand struggled with injuries after impressing as a rookie and entering a pivotal Year 4 with a new team in town. Round six rookie John Penisini started twelve games last year due to injuries, which underscores the team’s need for depth.
Short won’t be eating snaps like he used to, but he needs a chance to get his name back after playing just five games in two years. From 2013 to 2018 he made two Pro Bowls in Carolina and recorded 160 tackles, 32.5 bags, nine forced fumbles and 58 tackles for loss. In his first six seasons in the league, he missed just two games earlier.
LB Deone Bucannon
Deone Bucannon has played all over the field throughout his career, particularly in Arizona as a hybrid security guard. The selection for the 2014 first round has not been the same productive player for the past three years as the tires haven’t had much tread lately. 28-year-old Bucannon spent the postseason on the Tampa Bay training team but has not appeared in a regular season game since 2019. Since leaving Arizona he has jumped from the Giants to the Bucs and back to the Bucs with an unfortunate snap shot. Atlanta stay indented.
Bucannon’s top season was 2015 when he released 112 tackles, three sacks, three forced fumble and one interception, which he returned for a touchdown. He fits into the bill of a former first-round election that needs another chance, with Harris and Perriman being among those who recently landed in Detroit. Tame optimism on this one as there is likely a good reason he hasn’t seen the field in a couple of years (or stuck with a team).
WR Marvin Hall
Let me finish The Lions have signed quick recipients left and right for the past few weeks, so a potential number 1 is needed at the top of the rotation. If the idea is to work with any of the top three recipients at Pick 7, then it makes a lot of sense to sign another depth of game option like Marvin Hall. Hall was a surprise release in Detroit late in the season after catching 17 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns in five starts. Last season? Hall had seven catches for a ridiculous 261 yards and a touchdown. Upon his release, he started a game in Cleveland and caught a pass to two targets for 12 yards.
Hall is the receiver type who can take off the defense while offering some nifty moves as a retired returnees in the open field. Free agent add-on Caliph Raymond has more of that, but a little competition never hurts. Should Williams or Perriman be injured, Hall is someone who can step in without forcing the offense to change the way they work too much. He also had a strong following in these areas, which never hurts to be around during a makeover.