The Detroit Lions continue to add to their defense, and they continue to draw from the New England Patriots’ well. This time, however, they got a little creative. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Lions have traded for veteran safety Duron Harmon.
Though the direct compensation is still unclear, Rapoport calls it “a flip of late-round picks.” UPDATE: See bottom of post.
Harmon is a seven-year vet, spending his entire career with the Patriots after being selected by them in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Mostly thought of as a free safety, Harmon has tallied 17 interceptions in his career, including 10 in his past three seasons. He has graded out very positively by PFF’s standards, earning a grade of 70 or higher in five of his seven seasons.
Here’s our friends at Pats Pulpit on Harmon after his 2018 season:
As usual, Harmon was a productive player as a versatile rotational defensive back for the Patriots: forming a solid core at the safety position with McCourty and Chung, he finished the year with a combined 38 tackles as well as four interceptions; tied for the team-lead with All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Furthermore, he surrendered only one touchdown into his coverage area and allowed just 7 of 13 passes to be completed for 90 yards. He also recovered a fumble.
And more on how they used him:
Harmon, as has been the case in the past, will once more be used as a deep-field defender in single-high or two-deep coverage schemes by the Patriots; he will also give the club both depth and flexibility at the safety position that will allow Devin McCourty to be moved around the formation to create coverage advantages.
The Lions will assume the final year of Harmon’s four-year $17 million contract, which includes a $3.5 million base salary for 2020 and a roster bonus of $750,000.
Harmon fills an important role for the Lions as Detroit desperately needed a veteran presence considering their youthful secondary. Guys like Tracy Walker and Will Harris will benefit from his guidance, though this trade could spell the end of Tavon Wilson—who is due to become a free agent on Wednesday.
UPDATE: Here are the terms of the Duron trade:
Coincidentally, the fifth-round pick the Lions are sending to the Patriots was the pick they acquired by trading Quandre Diggs. So if it makes you feel better, the Lions essentially traded Diggs for Harmon and swapped a 2021 seventh-round pick for a 2020 seventh-round pick.
The Lions have also officially announced this trade, pending a physical.