The Detroit Lions are "actively pursuing" free-agent defensive end William Hayes, according to MLive's Anwar Richardson. Hayes officially becomes a free agent on Tuesday, and the Lions are apparently one of several teams with interest in him.
If Hayes' name sounds familiar, it's because he was mentioned as a good fit for the Lions a couple weeks ago. The declaration stems from his connection to Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, as Hayes was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2008. Schwartz's final year in Tennessee was 2008, so Hayes played for him for one season.
The other major reason Hayes has been viewed as a good fit for the Lions is his production. Despite not starting a single game last season, he recorded 7.0 sacks and 35 total tackles. That production came under Jeff Fisher, who previously was the Titans' head coach and, of course, has a big-time connection to Schwartz.
The Lions' major selling point for Hayes should be playing time. He wasn't a starter in St. Louis because of the Rams' defensive end depth, and the Lions only have one defensive end even under contract right now. Cliff Avril isn't expected back, so Hayes could sign and essentially be immediately penciled into the starting lineup. Playing time is obviously far from the only thing players consider when signing with a new team, but it's certainly something working to the Lions' favor in this case.