The Detroit Lions have their first “loss” during the 2023 free agency process. According to multiple reports, Lions starting safety DeShon Elliott is signing a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins. Per Jordan Schultz, the deal is worth $1.77 million.
Elliott started 13 games for the Lions last year after signing a one-year deal with the team during last year’s free agency. Though he was off to a slow start in Detroit—he was benched early in the season—he eventually played his way back onto the field and became an important fixture in Detroit’s defensive resurgence thanks to a strong ability to stop the run. He finished the season with 96 tackles, three passes defended, an interception, and a forced fumble.
Despite the strong finish to the season, Elliott is only getting a small raise from his $1.4 million deal last offseason. It’s a bit surprising the Lions didn’t bring Elliott back on such small terms, but there’s always a chance the 25-year-old safety was looking for a new home—perhaps one with a more clear path to a starting job.
With Elliott not returning, the Lions appear comfortable with Kerby Joseph and Tracy Walker as their starting safeties. Joseph is coming off an impressive rookie season, while Walker is still rehabbing from a torn Achilles early in the 2022 season. That said, Walker gave a recent update on his injury, calling himself “close to being 100 percent.”
Still, the Lions don’t have a ton of depth options right now, with just Ifeatu Melifonwu and Brady Breeze under contract as backups.