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Lions free-agent profile: Did Haloti Ngata do enough to justify a second contract with Lions?

Should the Lions re-sign Haloti Ngata?

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

To get ready for free agency, we're going to take a look at each of the Detroit Lions' 2016 free agents. Next up, Haloti Ngata.

2015 stats

14 games (14 starts) | 24 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 passes defended

How he joined the Detroit Lions

After it was apparent they had lost out on the Ndamukong Suh auction, the Lions wasted no time in finding a replacement. Just as the 2015 free-agency period began, Detroit swung a trade with the Baltimore Ravens that sent a fourth and fifth round pick for Ngata and a seventh round pick.

Case for re-signing him

Toward the end of the season, Ngata really started to show why the Lions acquired him in the first place. He finished the season with 1.5 sacks in the final two games.

Detroit is in desperate need for some starter-quality players at defensive tackle, and while Ngata is 32, up until the first half of 2015, he had shown little signs of slowing down.

Case against re-signing him

Even with a clear improvement as the season went on, Ngata's 2015 season was a considerable disappointment. Expectations may have been unfairly high with the Detroit defense coming off a phenomenal year, but Ngata didn't even meet some of Lions fans' lowest expectations. Detroit's defense took a big step back, and the fact that Ngata didn't anchor the middle of that defensive line has a lot to do with it.

Unless Ngata finds the fountain of youth this offseason, you can only expect the aging defensive tackle to continue to deteriorate next season.

Final verdict

Unlike previous profiles, the Lions cannot simply sign Ngata to a harmless minimum contract and cut their losses if it doesn't work out. Ngata will come at a price -- albeit a much cheaper one than his previous contract -- and the Lions have to decide if he's worth it. At this point, Detroit cannot expect a All-Pro talent in Ngata, but he could still be a moderate-level starter and a veteran presence in the locker room.

Previously: QB Dan Orlovsky, WR Lance Moore, TE Bear Pascoe, DT Tyrunn Walker, DT Jermelle Cudjo

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