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Just Say No: 4 free agents the Lions should avoid

The Detroit Lions should not spend money on these four free agents.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

It’s that time of year again! One of my favorite times of the year. It’s time to ruin your free agency dreams. It’s time for me to go out and search the social media world for the words “the Detroit Lions should sign ____” and then tell some of those people that they’re wrong. Let’s start this first edition off strong shall we?

James Bradberry

Look, I get it. Bradberry is a guy who has been around for a while and has been pretty good for a while, too. The word to really pay attention to here is “while.” That’s the problem. Bradberry will be 30 by the time training camp starts and for a young team that’s trying to get better while not spending a ton of money on older players, it doesn’t make sense for the team to go this route.

The other concern is that Bradberry has been inconsistent. He had a good year in Philadelphia this year, but how much of that with his surrounding cast? He had a defensive line that racked up the most sacks in an NFL season since 1985 and had Darius Slay shutting down the other side of the field.

While Bradberry earned a PFF grade of 74.1 this past year with the Eagles, he graded out at 62.8 last season with the Giants. For comparison sake, Will Harris graded out at 63.7 this season.

Evan Engram

I get that everyone wants to replace T.J. Hockenson, but I’m not sure that the Lions shouldn’t just stick with what they’ve got. This is a team that wants to run the ball and rely on its receivers. It seems like tight ends aren’t going to see a ton of usage on this team, especially as a pass catcher. And if they do, James Mitchell might be the guy they like to take that top spot.

If they do decide to find someone else, I don’t think it should be Evan Engram. Don’t get me wrong, Engram is a pretty decent receiving tight end. He’s reliable for a guy in that right. I terms of blocking, he’s pretty good at that, too.

Here’s the problem. My guess is that the Cowboys will probably hold onto Dalton Schultz and the Dolphins will probably retain Mike Gesicki. That’s going to likely make Engram the only available tight end capable of playing at a high level. In that scenario, Engram would come with a hefty price tag. This is just not spot where the Lions should be spending a ton of money.

Yannick Ngakoue

There was a time, not long ago, when I was pounding the table for the Lions to be the team that traded for Ngakoue. At the time, Ngakoue was one of the best available pass rushers out there and the Lions needed a pass rusher pretty bad.

Well, those days are gone. Ngakoue’s play has significantly dropped off since then. He graded out at a pretty rough 51.4 at PFF for the Colts this season. While he did put up 9.5 sacks, he struggled just about everywhere else. The Lions can do better and cheaper in the draft.

Javon Hargrave

Okay, everyone, settle down. Let me explain. I get one player in every Just Say No that I reserve the right to change my mind on if the Lions do sign that player. Hargave is definitely that guy this week.

Here’s why I worry about the signing. Hargrave is coming off a contract that made him the league’s highest-paid nose tackle and he hasn’t missed a step. It kind of makes you wonder if he’s about to become the highest-paid nose tackle again in March. Do the Lions want to make such a move? Do they want to make that move for a guy in his his 30s? Do they want to make that move for a guy who is really bad at stopping the run, too? Hargrave had a 48.2 run defense grade this season.

Run defense aside, Hargrave is definitely a good pass rusher (18.5 sacks in the past two seasons). I just worry about that age and the cost. The biggest nightmare scenario is that the Lions pay out top dollar for a great player and he begins his career descent immediately upon arrival. That can happen for any player they sign, but isn’t it more likely for the older ones?

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