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Just Say Yes Volume 1.0: 5 free agents the Lions should sign

A look at 5 free agents the Lions should say yes to.

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New York Giants v Washington Redskins Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Alright we’ve had our fun with Just Say No Volumes one and two. I feel like we’ve crushed enough dreams these past two weeks to deserve to talk about some dreams that should come true. It’s time to Just Say Yes. Because....

So let’s get into how this side of things is going to work. This isn’t about dream scenarios. I’m not going to tell you the Lions should go out and sign Drew Brees, Ndamukong Suh (if he goes to free agency), or even Hank Farley. This is all about players that the Lions can realistically achieve.

Having said that, Le’Veon Bell is not on this list. It’s not that I don’t think the Lions can sign him, because I don’t think it’s crazy at all. I’m also well aware that I keep bringing this up. I will die on this hill and nobody can stop me. Let’s jump into it.

Sheldon Richardson

Sheldon Richardson has been connected to the Lions in rumors for years now. He’s always felt like a guy that Martin Mayhew missed on and regretted. Well Mayhew isn’t in Detroit anymore, so now it’s time to make this a reality instead of talking about it.

There’s some tape to cut through first. Yes, the Seahawks appear content not using the franchise tag on Richardson. This will effectively make Sheldon a free agent who can hit the open market if he wants. But reports are that Seattle wants to offer him a long-term deal.

Why can it happen? The Seahawks might not have the money to lock up Richardson, Luke Joeckel and Jimmy Graham. The Seahawks have the 27th-most cap space available. The Lions have the 10th-most. If Richardson wants to get paid, he should come to Detroit.

I also love the possibility of adding Dontari Poe. Jeremey Reisman put out a great piece on him on Thursday.

Malcolm Butler

The Lions have a pretty good secondary as it stands. They have All-Pro corner Darius Slay, All-Pro Safety Glover Quin, and Quandre Diggs is a rising star at safety. But there’s a hole on the other side of Slay that needs to be filled. Pro Bowler Malcolm Butler can fill that spot.

I know what you’re thinking. “Didn't that guy just get benched in the Super Bowl?” Yeah, he did. All I have to say to that is, “So what?” It’s one of the weirdest and possibly dumbest benchings in history, and it seemed to piss everyone on the Patriots’ coaching staff off, if some of the reports are true.

It wasn’t a disciplinary benching. It wasn’t that his play was poor. Nobody knows what it was and we probably never will. I still say, “So what?”

The reason this one feels like a foregone conclusion is because the Lions hired Matt Patricia. It’s no secret that players tend to follow coaches to their new destinations. How do you think the Lions wound up with Stephen Tulloch?

With Nevin Lawson likely hitting free agency, this would be quite the upgrade for the Lions. And of all the players listed, this is the one I feel will absolutely happen.

Josh Sitton

Earlier in the week, the Bears notified Sitton that they would not be exercising his $8 million option for 2018. He’ll be a free agent. I think a lot of people were expecting me to add Sitton to the Just Say No list. A couple people tweeted at me immediately after the news broke. But you know what? Why not ?

Now I know that Josh is 31. I also know that I have some sort of vendetta against players in their 30s, but Sitton is different.

Sitton is still playing at a high level, and he fits a role for the Lions. Pro Football Focus gave Sitton a an 86.0 grade for the 2017 season. That’s higher than T.J. Lang’s grade of 79.0. He was also a Pro Bowler in 2016.

As far as filling a role goes, the Lions are likely about to part ways with Travis Swanson. This would allow Graham Glasgow to move back to center, the position he was drafted to play. Sitton can jump right into Glasgow’s role as starting left guard. It’s perfect.

This kind of stuff right here matters. I know we like to act like it doesn’t, but it does. This is Lang doing the recruiting for the Lions here. All the Lions have to do is call and they’ll undoubtedly get their meeting with Sitton. The other benefit that goes in the Lions’ favor is that he’s played for the Packers and the Bears. The likelihood that he’ll stay in the division is pretty good.

Danny Vitale

Let’s be clear here, Vitale is not technically a free agent. He’s actually an exclusive rights free agent, which essentially means that the Browns can offer him the lowest price possible, and he can either sign the offer or not play in 2018. But if the Browns decide to say no, it’s fullback time in Detroit again.

But Vitale isn’t really a fullback. At Northwestern, he played a position call Super Back. This is a combination of running back, fullback, wide receiver and tight end. I’ve been following Vitale for years. Ask any other writer that knows me, I haven’t shut up about him in three years.

The reason is because I know that the kid can be something special. The only reason he hasn’t shined thus far is the Browns and the Buccaneers don’t know how to use him. He’s not a simple fullback. He can do a lot of things, and he’s proved that in his four years at Northwestern.

At this point, I’m sort of begging the Lions to be the team that realizes that potential. At the very least, sign a fullback that can help make up for the loss of Michael Burton.

Devon Kennard

I’m not sure anyone has ever heard of Kennard at this point. He was a player that I followed closely all season long. He’s not a superstar. There’s not a whole lot that is sexy about this signing on the surface. It’s what lies beneath that intrigues me.

Kennard is a 26-year-old outside linebacker that can do more than just play linebacker. In my opinion, Kennard is what the Lions once wanted Kyle Van Noy to be. He’s a guy that can play outside and rush off the edge.

Kennard still has some things to learn. He’s not going to be an All-Pro any time soon. Pro Football Focus graded him out at 79.0, an “average” grade. For reference, Paul Worrilow had a 60.1 grade last year. This would be an upgrade for the Lions.

He’s also going to be cheap, and the Detroit Lions could potentially offer him a starting job. He showed late in 2017 that he was ready to take on a big role when he started the final 11 games of the season for the Giants. The Lions should throw a contact his way and see what he can become.