The Detroit Lions don’t even have a head coach yet, but in just two months one of the biggest moments of the offseason will occur: Free agency.
The Lions are estimated to have over $50 million in cap space in 2018 (10th most) and have plenty of holes to fill. Generally speaking, when a team goes through a coaching change, player personnel also goes through a hefty overhaul. Even if that’s not the case for the Lions this year, there’s a typical change of about 30 percent of the roster on a year-to-year basis.
In other words, expect the Lions to be active during this year’s free agency period. Last year, the Lions aggressively grabbed two of the best offensive linemen on the market. The year before, Bob Quinn went out and immediately got one of the better receivers available in an effort to mitigate the damage from Calvin Johnson’s retirement.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Who is one free agent you’d like to see the Lions pursue in 2018?
For reference, Spotrac has a nice little list of players around the NFL who are scheduled to become undrafted free agents at the end of the league year.
My answer: Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
Clayborn is a big reason the Falcons were able to build a feared defense over the past two years. He’s not a flashy guy, and he’s not really even a starter in Atlanta, but he’s a consistent force as a pass rusher, and can occasionally explode on the scene. Take, for example, Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys. Clayborn—admittedly against a backup left tackle—racked up 6.0 sacks in a single game.
Clayborn has had some injuries and probably wouldn’t be a guy the Lions would ride as a starter. However, Detroit really needed a fresh, effective player to come off the bench and pressure the quarterback this year. They didn’t have one, and had to shuffle through name after name to try and find one.
Clayborn shouldn’t be ridiculously expensive on the market (though all edge rushers tend to get overpaid). And considering Clayborn finished 17th among all edge rushers with a 86.3 PFF grade, he’d be better than literally any option the Lions had in 2017.