With the 2020 NFL Draft behind us, teams are now getting a good understanding of where their strengths and weaknesses lie. While most prized free agents have been signed by now, a few big names remain for a team needing an upgrade.
Perhaps the biggest name still available is Cam Newton. The former Carolina Panthers quarterback has seen a multitude of quarterbacks land in new places, from Andy Dalton getting a significant deal in Dallas to Jameis Winston backing up Drew Brees in New Orleans. Newton, the former MVP, has been all but left out, and the New England Patriots remain his best chance at starting in 2020. For the Detroit Lions, however, he is not a target.
Pass rushers are a premium in the NFL, and the Lions might look to add one of the remaining free agents to bolster their defense. Jadeveon Clowney is a significant name still remaining, and the former first overall pick could command a decent contract. Will Detroit be a spender? Elsewhere, long-time thorn in their side Everson Griffen is available after being released by the Minnesota Vikings. In 2017, the Lions took a chance on Dwight Freeney (to minimal success), and they could take a similar chance on an aged pass rusher in Cameron Wake.
Defensive tackle is also a weak spot for the Lions despite adding a pair of late round players in the draft. Marcell Dareus and Corey Liuget are two possibilities for the Lions looking to add some insurance up front. Former Lions Damon Harrison and Mike Daniels are also available, but a reunion seems unlikely.
The Lions took receiver Quintez Cephus in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, but another receiver could be added to fill out their middling depth. Paul Richardson is an oft-injured option, but he has history with current offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and he could join the team on a low-risk deal, similar to what the Lions offered Jermaine Kearse the year before. Kearse himself could be an option to return after missing the entire year.
With the addition of Jeff Okudah in the draft and Desmond Trufant in free agency, the Lions have tried to shore up their secondary now missing Darius Slay. However, an extra bit of talent could be added if the price is right. Logan Ryan has experience with Matt Patricia and could be a decent buy-low option. Former Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard could also return to Michigan.
Alternatively, the Lions might look at some veteran punters, since only second-year Jack Fox and 27-year-old rookie Aussie rules footballer Arryn Siposs are on the roster. They might kick the tires on Lac Edwards or Matt Bosher to add some experience to their special teams unit.
There is still some decent talent available, if only for the right price.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Which remaining free agents should the Lions pursue?
The Lions still have a decent amount of cap space — around $30 million — and while some of that will probably be used to extend Kenny Golladay, they could still make a bit of a splash with the remaining free agents.
I believe that Marcell Dareus is a likely target for the Lions, and one that I would approve of. While Da’Shawn Hand is a talented member of the defensive line, he has suffered some injuries in his young career. Meanwhile, Danny Shelton is a run-stuffing nose tackle, and Nick Williams has had just one year as a starter. Coupled with some rookies and undrafted free agents, the Lions could use some added depth. Dareus will not be at his former All-Pro level, but he could still perform at a starting-caliber level.