We’re just over a month away from the start of NFL free agency, and it will be curious to see how active the Detroit Lions will be. They don’t have a ton of cap space to play around with, and they’ll most likely prefer to build slowly through the draft, but Lions general manager Brad Holmes also made it clear he wouldn’t be throwing away the 2021 season completely.
“The ultimate goal is to make sure that the most competitive team is on the field, and that starts right this year, entering the 2021 season,” Holmes said back in January.
So expect Detroit to make some moves in free agency this year, even if it’s not much.
With that in mind PFF predicted where all 50 of their top 2021 free agents will land, and it includes two signings for Detroit. The first is re-signing wide receiver Kenny Golladay to a franchise tag, something we discussed earlier on Tuesday.
The other signing is a little more interesting. PFF predicts Detroit to land former Bills linebacker Matt Milano to a four-year, $45 million deal.
“Detroit doesn’t have much cap space, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team do everything in its power to create room for a Golladay tag and an upgrade at off-ball linebacker,” PFF’s Anthony Treash wrote. “The Lions’ linebacker room outside of Jamie Collins Sr. struggled mightily in 2020, with Reggie Ragland and Jahlani Tavai each posting 35.7 coverage grades.”
Milano is the opposite of the kind of linebacker Detroit had been looking for under Matt Patricia. At 6-foot, 223 pounds, he’s a speedy, undersized, hybrid option that would bring Detroit some much-needed skills in coverage.
A former fifth-round pick, Milano is coming off his worst graded season by PFF standards (54.5), but in 2019 and 2018, he was one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL.
An average of just north of $11 million a year seems a bit pricey for Milano, but it could be the going rate for a 26-year-old athletic linebacker.
- Speaking of free agents, looking just at age and 2020 pressure rate, there aren’t many free agents with a better resume than Romeo Okwara:
Using @MikeClayNFL wonderful Free Agent guide he posted yesterday I compiled a handy edge rusher list with relevant stats (no just listing sacks doesn't tell u anything). Sorted by guys under 30 yo with highest pressure rates in 2020. Good guide to use for Browns, etc pic.twitter.com/UJ8fuvXpMF— TA (@ClevTA) February 12, 2021
- Chris Burke of The Athletic addressed just about every potential free agent option that Lions fans threw at him, including his thoughts on the aforementioned Milano.
- Some D’Andre Swift rookie highlights to get you through this chilly Tuesday:
- Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press has an interesting article on how friendship with a Navy SEAL taught him about how confrontation is necessary for leadership.
- Matthew Stafford was pretty good at throwing the deep ball in 2020. Jared Goff... not so much:
- Kyle Meinke of MLive has seven potential cap casualties for the Lions.