While the legal tampering period of free agency doesn’t begin until Monday, rumors are already starting to swirl around the NFL. The Detroit Lions have been exceptionally airtight in any rumors pertaining to their team (they still haven’t even confirmed the hire of running backs coach Kyle Caskey), but it appears one thing has slipped through the cracks.
According to Connor Hughes of The Athletic New York, the Lions are considered the current favorite to land soon-to-be free agent linebacker Anthony Barr in free agency:
In addition to Anthony Barr, #Jets have serious interest in free-agent rushers Trey Flowers & Dante Fowler, per sources. They’re, obviously, not alone. #Lions considered favorite, & #MIN not out, for Barr, #Dolphins like Flowers, & #Rams would like to retain Fowler, per sources— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) March 9, 2019
Barr would make an interesting addition to a Lions defense hungry for playmakers. He has Matt Patricia’s favorite asset, versatility, in spades. With elite levels of athleticism, Barr is just starting to bud as a pass rusher, and he’s a near-elite run defending linebacker. According to Pro Football Focus, Barr led all linebackers in pass rushing productivity in 2018 (though he only had three sacks).
Barr has some inconsistencies in coverage, but at times flashes plenty of skill there, too.
In Detroit, Barr could immediately upgrade the Lions’ linebacker corps and give Detroit a ton of versatility options. He wouldn’t exactly fix the Lions’ pass rushing issues, but if you’ve longed for Detroit to have their version of Kyle Van Noy (yeah, I know), Barr is a bigger, faster edition.