Free agency is still a couple weeks away, but that doesn't mean that everything is on hold until then. On Wednesday, for example, the Detroit Lions released running back Reggie Bush, and they are going to make another move on Thursday by signing defensive end Phillip Hunt, according to Adam Caplan.
Hunt was technically listed as a defensive end/linebacker by Caplan, but my assumption is that he will play defensive end in the Lions' 4-3 defense. That was his position when he played in 22 games for the Philadelphia Eagles back in 2011 and 2012. He racked up 3.0 sacks in those two seasons, and he played for defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who is currently a Lions assistant.
#Lions DL Coach Kris Kocurek is a Jim Washburn disciple. Lions looking to develop Hunt like they did DE George Johnson.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) February 26, 2015
In a sense, Hunt feels like a Darryl Tapp type of player since he played for Washburn in Philadelphia and later played linebacker for a different team before coming to Detroit. In Hunt's case, he was briefly a linebacker in the Indianapolis Colts' 3-4 defense last August before being let go during the final round of cuts. Before that, he spent the 2013 season on injured reserve after tearing his ACL in his final year in Philadelphia.
In terms of the Lions hoping to find a hidden gem at defensive end, George Johnson is definitely the perfect example. He joined the team last offseason as nothing more than a camp body, but he came out of nowhere to become an outstanding backup at the position.
Johnson and Tapp are both actually set to become free agents next month. Johnson is expected to be back since he is a restricted free agent, but Tapp's future is uncertain right now. Depending on how everything shakes out, Hunt could definitely have an opportunity to play his way onto the roster this summer.