To get ready for free agency, we're going to take a look at each of the Detroit Lions' 2016 free agents. Next up, Darryl Tapp.
16 games (1 start) | 26 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
How he joined the Detroit Lions
Tapp was signed as a free agent in 2014. After a somewhat successful season, the Lions decided to re-sign him to a one-year deal in 2015.
Case for re-signing him
Tapp has been a rotational player at defensive end for the past two years with the Lions. He has seen playing time in all 33 games as a Detroit Lion (including one playoff game) . Despite hitting 31-years-old, Tapp finished the season with his highest tackle total since 2011. Last offseason, the Lions were able to sign Tapp for under $1 million a year, so he will come as another cheap option at a position currently lacking in depth.
Tapp has also been an extremely valuable commodity in the locker room. Fellow defensive end Devin Taylor credits Tapp with the necessary mentorship to revitalize his career.
Case against re-signing him
Tapp will turn 32 this year and the Lions need to start filling out the defense with fresher, younger faces. While Tapp could provide mentorship, he could also be burden on the depth chart with his presumably declining talent. We've seen the Lions shed themselves of the aging Stephen Tulloch and Joique Bell already this offseason. If the pattern continues, Tapp may not fit the mold of this new Lions team.
Detroit can bring back Tapp at a very small cost, and there doesn't seem to be any strong reason not to do so. Worst case scenario: Tapp does appear to have lost a step and the Lions will be able to cut ties without any huge monetary setback. Best case scenario: Tapp continues to contribute meaningful snaps as a rotational end and helps coach up a rookie defensive end added through the draft.