When the Detroit Lions signed defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker last week, it quickly became clear that he was an under-the-radar type of player who probably didn't get enough playing time with the New Orleans Saints. And although most football fans probably weren't familiar with Walker, it seems quite a few people in NFL circles had interest in him as soon as the Saints decided to not tender him as a restricted free agent.
As it turns out, more than half of the NFL showed interest in Walker, according to what his agent told The Detroit News. Specifically, Walker heard from 18 total teams after free agency opened last Tuesday. From there, three finalists emerged, including the New England Patriots, which hosted Walker for a visit and offered him a contract.
DT Tyrunn Walker said he was offered a 3-year deal by the Patriots. Took a one-year deal with the Lions instead.
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) March 16, 2015
A day after his Patriots visit, Walker headed to Detroit for a visit with the Lions. He was originally planning to continue his visit tour after meeting with the Lions, but he ended up signing with Detroit instead, and general manager Martin Mayhew apparently played a big part in making that happen. From The Detroit News:
"Martin was the instrument that made the whole thing happen," Kiernan said. "He had to impress me to get to the kid."
More than anything, it sounds like an opportunity to potentially start stood out to Walker. The Lions may have added Haloti Ngata, but they still need someone else to step up at defensive tackle with both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley departing. Walker is hoping to fill that role, and since he's on a one-year deal, he's likely hoping to turn a successful season with the Lions into a big payday next year.