When NFL free agency first opened, the Detroit Lions seemed to be linked to every notable free-agent cornerback. It made sense. The Lions had a big need at cornerback, and until they re-signed Chris Houston, that need wasn't filled. As a result, the Lions were viewed as a realistic option for several of the cornerbacks out there on the open market.
Now, it seems the same thing is happening at the defensive end position. The Lions were linked to free-agent defensive end Elvis Dumervil over the weekend, although he is likely out of their price range. A defensive end the Lions could likely afford is Osi Umenyiora, and now he has also been linked to the Lions.
Yep. Miami, Detroit, others. But $ for DEs isn't there across the board. RT @brooklynpod: anyone shown any real interest in Osi?— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 18, 2013
Umenyiora is 31 years old and has been in the league for nine seasons, so he isn't entering his prime or anything like that. However, he is a proven player who could come in for a year or two and be a starter. Last season with the New York Giants, he had 6.0 sacks and 2 forced fumbles, so he still put up decent numbers. What would really be great is if he could put up 2011-like numbers, as he had 9.0 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in only 9 games that season.
At some point, it seems like the Lions are going to have to add a veteran defensive end just so there isn't a complete lack of depth at the position. Right now they only have Jason Jones, Willie Young and Ronnell Lewis, and both starting jobs at defensive end are up for grabs. Re-signing Lawrence Jackson is likely still an option, and they are expected to draft a defensive end in April. However, it'd be preferable for the Lions to not go into the draft with only three guys under contract, so signing someone like Umenyiora would make a lot of sense, especially if he comes at an affordable price.