It feels like once the season is over, fans jump to the NFL Draft as the next big thing during the offseason. While the draft brings the excitement of a live event and the promise of young, cheap talent, free agency could be just as important for team development, especially in the immediate.
Just look at the 2018 Detroit Lions. One could make the argument that they had one of the better drafts in the league—getting significant (and good) contributions out of each of their draft picks from the first four rounds. However, in free agency the team struggled to find any impact players, and one could argue that has a lot to do with their struggles in 2019.
So today, let’s look at the 2019 NFL free agency class and ask ourselves:
Who is the Lions’ dream free agency signing in 2019?
My answer: I have to go with the guy that is also one of the hotter names right now among Lions fans: edge rusher Trey Flowers.
The fit is just way too perfect. An outstanding edge defender that can create consistent pressure. Though he only had 7.5 sacks this season, Pro Football Focus credited him with a 18.5 pass-rush win percentage—good for third best in the league.
But perhaps most important is his familiarity with Matt Patricia and his defense. In 2018, we saw just how long it took for many Lions defenders to get settled in this defense, and it essentially cost Detroit the first two months of the season. Flowers could come in and immediately make an impact with no learning curve necessary. And he’d just so happen to fill one of Detroit’s biggest needs.
The problem is simply price. Flowers is in for a huge payday, if he even hits free agency at all. While the Patriots are known for not breaking the bank on their own players, the allure of being under such a well-run organization is often enough to keep players in Foxborough. But if Flowers is seeking the best deal, Detroit is going to have a lot of competition to land the defender. Edge rushers don’t come along free agency very often, and when they do, they tend to get paid:
But one can dream, can’t they?