The Detroit Lions may be in the midst of a bunch of pre-draft meetings, but that doesn’t mean they’ve put free agency on hold. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Lions hosted free agent safety DeShon Elliott for a visit on Wednesday.
UPDATE: Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Lions have signed DeShon Elliott to a one-year deal. Terms of the deal were not disclosed at this time. With this signing, the Lions now have seven safeties under contract for the 2022 season, yet only two—Tracy Walker and Brady Breeze—signed beyond this season. This indicates the Lions could still consider taking a safety in this draft class and have already had top-30 visits with Illinois’ safety Kerby Joseph and met with Daxton Hill at Michigan’s pro day, as well as the team’s local pro day. They also reportedly have a meeting set up with potential top-five pick Kyle Hamilton.
Elliott was drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. After essentially redshirting his rookie season due to a fractured forearm, Elliott would eventually win the Ravens’ starting job in 2020. That year, he started all 16 games, tallied 80 tackles, 2.5 sacks, four passes defended, two forced fumbles, and a decent 69.6 PFF grade. He entered the 2021 season as a starter, as well, but injuries to his bicep and pectoral held him to just six total games played for the year. Injuries have been an issue for most of Elliott’s career, as he missed 10 games in 2019 with a knee injury.
However, when healthy, Elliott has been a productive member of the Ravens’ secondary. He also brings a fair amount of versatility, playing about 64 percent of his 2020 snaps (his only full season) as a free safety, and the rest either as a box safety or corner.
“He really understands the defense,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said of Elliott last year. “He understands how we organize the coverages. He understands what responsibilities he has, or what opportunities he has, to make certain calls to put us in the best situation. He’s doing a great job of that. He was good last year, and he got better as the year went on. But this year, he’s taken it to another level that way.”
If signed by the Lions, Elliott would immediately come in and contend for the starting job alongside Tracy Walker, who re-signed with the Lions on a three-year deal earlier this offseason. It’s unclear how much Elliott would cost, but PFF’s contract projection is a one-year, $5.25 million deal. However, with his injury history, there’s reason to believe the Lions could get him on a more affordable deal.
UPDATE 2: Josina Anderson has some early contract details: