After visiting the Detroit Lions on Monday, free agent edge defender Arden Key left without signing a contract. According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, Key is onto Jacksonville for a visit with the Jaguars. But just because Key is doing his rounds before making a decision doesn’t mean he’s rejected the Lions. In fact, according to Garafolo, the Lions remain “still very much in play” to land Key in free agency, and the 25-year-old defender is just going about his pre-planned visits.
The Lions could use some depth at the edge position as they go into 2022. Not only did the Lions release veteran Trey Flowers earlier this offseason to save over $10 million in cap space, but their next best players at the position, Romeo Okwara, will be coming off a devastating Achilles injury suffered during Week 4 of the 2021 season. Detroit did re-sign Charles Harris to a two-year deal this offseason to help bring some depth, but Key would add another essential rotational piece.
A former third-round pick, Key is coming off his best career season. After struggling in his first three years with the Las Vegas Raiders, the San Francisco 49ers found Key’s niche as a third-down edge rusher who is capable of sliding inside on obvious passing downs. The end result was a solid 6.5-sack season with 17 quarterback hits and an impressive 75.4 PFF pass rushing grade.
At this point, it isn’t clear how many visits Key plans on making nor when he’ll make a decision on his future.