clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lions free-agent profile: Can Josh Wilson fill Rashean Mathis' veteran cornerback role?

Should the Detroit Lions re-sign Josh Wilson?

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

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

2015 stats

8 games (4 starts) | 32 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 pass defended

How he joined the Detroit Lions

Wilson signed a one-year deal with the Lions in 2015 to help add depth at the cornerback position.

Case for re-signing him

Wilson entered the season as the Lions' top nickel cornerback. Although it looks like Quandre Diggs may take over that role going forward, Wilson provides decent depth and invaluable experience. With Rashean Mathis gone, the Lions are left with a very young, very inexperience secondary. The Lions could really use an experienced player at his position in the locker room.

Last year, the Lions signed Wilson for just $950,000. Coming off a knee injury and entering the season at 31 next year, Wilson should come even cheaper this offseason.

Case against re-signing him

Despite entering the season atop the depth chart, Wilson's play wasn't very good. He had the second-worst coverage grade among Lions cornerbacks according to Pro Football Focus and managed only one pass defended in his eight games. Assuming Diggs' rookie season wasn't a flash-in-the-pan, the Lions have their nickel cornerback of the future, and while the Lions could use a veteran presence, a 31-year old declining player probably isn't the best option for Detroit.

Final verdict

The Lions will need some cornerback depth to fill out the rest of their roster, but Wilson doesn't really fit the profile for that need. He's aging, he's coming off a serious injury and his play is declining. There is an inherent risk in the Lions moving forward with Diggs -- a still unproven commodity -- as the presumed top nickel corner, but if the Lions are looking for someone to continue to push him, they need to go with someone younger.

Previously: QB Dan Orlovsky, WR Lance Moore, TE Bear Pascoe, DT Tyrunn Walker, DT Jermelle Cudjo, DT Haloti Ngata, DE Jason Jones, DE Darryl Tapp, DE Corey Wootton, LB Tahir Whitehead, LB Travis Lewis.

Pride of Detroit Direct

Sign up now for a 7-day free trial of Pride of Detroit Direct, with exclusive updates from Jeremy Reisman on the ground at Allen Park, instant reactions after each game, and in-depth Lions analysis from film expert Jon Ledyard.