The NFL Draft is over and now beings the last wave for free agency. With compensatory pick calculations no longer part of the equation, some of the best free agents should be expected to come off the market soon. In fact, we’ve already seen Ezekiel Ansah find a new home in Seattle.
The Detroit Lions have a good share of 2019 cap space left—literally enough to sign any of the remaining players. Whether they want to hang onto that money for 2020 or for upcoming contract extensions remains to be seen. However, let’s dream a little bit. Here are five remaining free agents the Lions should consider signing.
WR Dontrelle Inman
Wide receiver depth is currently lacking with this team. Yes, they drafted Travis Fulgham, but if Marvin Jones Jr. or Kenny Golladay suffer an injury, I’m not sure the Lions want a sixth-round rookie from Old Dominion stepping in immediately.
Inman isn’t exactly a stud, but he fits the profile of an outside receiver Detroit could use for depth. In fact, Pro Football Focus listed Detroit as an ideal landing place for Inman.
“Inman turned in a career performance in the Colts’ Divisional Playoff matchup with the Chiefs this past season, earning a career-high 89.8 single-game grade,” PFF’s Mike Johnson wrote. “Though he is entering the 2019 season at 30 years old, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Inman offers value as a short-term solution for a team such as Detroit, a team that needs depth at outside wide receiver.’
CB Morris Claiborne
The Lions outside corner position opposite Darius Slay is again up for grabs. Detroit may believe Rashaan Melvin could be a stopgap while Amani Oruwariye could be their future, but the team could undoubtedly use a little more friendly competition for 2019.
Claiborne is coming off an up-and-down season with the Jets. He recorded a career-high 14 passes defended, but his PFF grade of 62.7 ranked just 75th among 112 qualifying corners.
I made the argument for Jamie Collins back in March, and I still stand by it. Linebacker is arguably the team’s biggest need, and Detroit is currently lacking a veteran at that position with extensive knowledge of Matt Patricia’s system.
What better way to help second-round pick Jahlani Tavai progress quickly and reach his full potential than to have a mentor in the room from the beginning? Of course, Collins would also bring some much-needed depth to Detroit’s thinnest position.
The only thing standing in the way of this no-duh signing is Collins himself. He left New England with a pretty bad reputation, and Patricia knows it. If Collins has changed his ways or if the discontent was overreported, Bob Quinn should pick up the phone yesterday.
The Lions’ current competition for a right guard starting job is uninspiring, at best. Levitre is coming off a torn tricep injury that caused him to miss almost all of the 2018 season, but if he’s healthy enough, the soon-to-be 33-year-old guard could come in and immediately compete for a starting spot.
There’s one pretty big problem with Levitre, though: he’s played on the left side his entire career. If Detroit were to add Levitre, they may want to consider moving Frank Ragnow to the right side. Ragnow played right guard during his sophomore season at Arkansas and it’s still early in his NFL career, so it wouldn’t be a crazy move. But for a player the Lions would likely sign to a one-year deal, it may be too much shuffling for Detroit to take on.
Defensive tackle isn’t exactly a huge need for the Lions, but adding Suh would just make Detroit’s defensive line even more stacked. It would be an interesting reunion and one the Lions could definitely afford. The Lions could still use another playmaker or two on defense, and if it could keep everyone else in the defensive line rotation a little more fresh, I say why not?