The dream is over, Detroit Lions fans. One of the hottest, most popular names for the Detroit Lions to sign this free agency period was defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. Once the Colts released him a week into free agency, it seemed like destiny that he would come in and take Haloti Ngata’s place. When news broke that the Lions were interested and had a scheduled meeting with Hankins, Lions fans went wild.
But that dream died on Monday when Detroit Free Press reporter Dave Birkett extinguished any remaining hope of a Hankins signing:
A second note from Florida: Lions are not currently in on Hankins, so everyone who’s asked can stop asking.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) March 26, 2018
While there were some remaining hopeful fans throughout the past weekend, it was pretty obvious that when the Lions signed Sylvester Williams there was no room on the roster (or the salary cap) for a guy like Hankins.
It’s not clear if the Lions ever met with Hankins or if the report was just a negotiating ploy to drive the price down on Williams, but it now appears certain that Hankins will be playing elsewhere in 2018.
That doesn’t mean the Lions are out of the market at defensive tackle. Last week, they were reportedly on the verge of signing former Patriots defensive linemen Ricky Jean Francois. While there has been no update in how those negotiations have progressed, there’s no reason to believe the Lions aren’t still pursuing the veteran defender.