In order to clear some cap room, the Buffalo Bills released a pair of veteran defenders on Monday. Linebacker Nick Barnett was the first to go, and safety George Wilson was released shortly after. Naturally, let's ask the required question for whenever something like this happens: Should the Detroit Lions pursue Wilson and/or Barnett?
Let's start with Wilson since he is a safety and that position isn't exactly in great shape for the Lions. Wilson was graded as a top-eight safety in 2012, according to Pro Football Focus (via Evan Silva). Although he is going to turn 32 years old next month, PFF's assessment suggests that his play hasn't dropped off a ton just yet. The fact that he had 104 tackles and 5 pass defenses last season also suggests that he still brings a lot on the field.
Off the field, Wilson appears to be the kind of leader the Lions are now in need of. Martin Mayhew talked last week about the need for leadership, and Wilson's tenure in Buffalo speaks for itself. He was voted captain five times in his eight seasons with the Bills, and he served as the team's NFLPA rep. Considering the Lions are lacking talent and depth at safety and leadership in general, I think Wilson would be a solid addition for the right price. (He was set to make $2.9 million in 2012 before being released.)
As for Barnett, he is someone the Lions pursued back in 2011 after the lockout ended. The Lions' pursuit of Barnett got serious enough that he scheduled a visit with the team, but he ended up signing with Buffalo instead. With starters DeAndre Levy and Justin Durant both set to hit free agency, I could see the Lions taking another look at Barnett, who will turn 32 in May. PFF graded him as a top-10 4-3 outside linebacker (again, via Silva), and the Lions will have a void at that position if they don't re-sign both Levy and Durant.
Personally, I'm hoping the Lions will take a run at Wilson. Their lack of depth at safety concerns me considering Louis Delmas is set to become a free agent and can't stay healthy anyway, and Wilson seems like a guy who brings a lot to the table. What do you think?