The early hours of free agency began with the Detroit Lions setting the pieces in place for a renewed offensive line, and the late afternoon on Thursday has now seen the Lions making multiple moves to shore up the front seven on defense. Only hours after the team released DeAndre Levy, Detroit was reported to have signed two defensive linemen: former Bears defensive end Cornelius Washington and former Buccaneers defensive tackle Akeem Spence. Washington is set to make $6-8 million over two years, while Spence is reportedly set to ink a contract worth up to $10.5 million over three years.
Former #Bears DE Cornelius Washington is expected to sign with the #Lions, source said.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 9, 2017
DT Akeem Spence to the Lions. Three years, $10.5m— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 9, 2017
With the defensive line fairing poorly through 2016, the Lions will try to take whatever help they can get. Cornelius Washington will probably look to thrive in a pass-rushing role opposite Ezekiel Ansah, which the Lions have desperately needed. With Akeem Spence, the Lions will have another option at defensive tackle to plug gaps and impose his size and strength in the run game. At 27 and 25 years of age respectively, Washington and Spence also add more youth along the line.
Pro Football Focus did not have a very rosy picture on Akeem Spence, rating him at 39.2, fourth-lowest among defensive tackles. Meanwhile, Cornelius Washington rated 56th among all defensive ends and had the 26th best pass rushing grade.