One of the weirder sagas of the Detroit Lions’ free agency period was their pursuit of former Patriots defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois. First, reports surfaced that the Lions were bringing in defensive tackles Alan Branch and Johnathan Hankins for a meeting. Minutes later, a few reporters said that Francois and the Lions were closing in on a deal and were expected to come to an agreement shortly. Then a few minutes later, the original source of that rumor walked it back, and the Lions officially signed Sylvester Williams, instead.
Since then, it hasn’t been clear what the Lions’ plans are for Francois. The player himself clearly denied that a deal was struck, calling rumors (but not any in particular) surrounding him “fake news.”
So with the initial rumors being called fake and the Lions inking Williams to a one-year deal, does that mean the Lions have moved on from 31-year-old Francois?
Apparently not. According to the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett, the two sides were still in talks as of a few days ago. When asked if the Lions had signed Francois, this is how Birkett responded on Sunday morning:
Were still in talks as of the other day https://t.co/7qx22afuAW— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) April 1, 2018
Though Birkett is vague about the timeline here, it’s clear Detroit still has some interest in the veteran defensive tackle. The Lions currently have just over $10 million in cap space and, even with the addition of Williams, a pretty big need along the defensive line. Francois would bring experience with Matt Patricia’s defense and some much-needed depth behind A’Shawn Robinson and Williams.
For now, it’s still not clear if an agreement between the two sides is imminent, but one thing is for certain: there’s mutual interest still here.