To get ready for free agency, we're going to take a look at each of the Detroit Lions' 2015 free agents. Next up is defensive end Darryl Tapp.
16 games (0 starts) | 17 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 2 PD, 1 FR
How he joined the Lions
Signed as a free agent in September 2014 (after first signing in March 2014).
Case for re-signing him
Tapp was let go during the final round of roster cuts last summer before being re-signed just days later, and he ended up playing an average of 17-18 snaps a game. His production wasn't out of this world or anything, but he provided solid depth and an ability to play multiple positions if needed. Considering Tapp should be extremely affordable, this is yet another situation where there's no real harm in re-signing this particular free agent.
Case against re-signing him
The Lions were so deep at defensive end last season that Devin Taylor's role was reduced and rookie Larry Webster couldn't even get on the field. If the Lions want either of those players to really take their game to another level, they're going to need more of a chance to play (or a chance to play at all in Webster's case), and that could be tough with a veteran like Tapp in front of them in the rotation. If Tapp is indeed that far ahead of them from a talent standpoint, then it makes sense to roll with him for another year, but at some point the Lions need to give their younger guys an opportunity to show what they've got, and that might not happen if Tapp is brought back for another season.
In my view, the Lions should just re-sign Tapp and let him battle it out with guys like Taylor and Webster in training camp. If the younger players beat him out, then that's probably a good thing for the future of the defensive end position. If they don't, then Tapp can simply be one of the primary backups at defensive end again in 2015.