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Lions free agent news: Detroit interested in DL Calais Campbell

The Detroit Lions are reportedly interested in free agent All-Pro defensive tackle Calais Campbell.

Carolina Panthers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions are one of many teams interested in the services of veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell. Lions coach Dan Campbell told local media during Tuesday’s owners meetings that the team has been pursuing the six-time Pro Bowler in free agency.

“Look, we turn the tape on, man, and I’ll tell you what, you talk about a lot of respect for a big man,” Campbell said according to Justin Rogers of the Detroit News. “Oh, my gosh. I just keep watching it and I’m like, there’s no way he can feel good, that body can not feel good. But it looks like it feels good because he’s just a force to be reckoned with. You put him in a closed end, you’re not running over there. He can rush as a 3-technique, still, on third down. Man, he’s got length, he’s got size, he’s still quick. We’ll see. We’re not the only one who is on him.”

Campbell, who will be 37 when the season starts in September, was released by the Baltimore Ravens earlier this month in a move that saved the team $7 million in cap space. Though Campbell is one of the oldest defenders in the league, his production is still at a high level. Last season, Campbell produced 36 tackles, four tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and a 76.9 PFF grade (13th among DTs).

Detroit certainly has a need for a defensive tackle who can both play the run and provide some pass rush, as well. The Lions have prioritized bringing back last year’s crew of players, re-signing Isaiah Buggs to a two-year deal and offering reserve defender Benito Jones and exclusive rights free agent tender.

But this week general manager Brad Holmes admitted that they relied a little too heavily on Buggs in 2022. Buggs played 752 defensive snaps last year—good for 22nd among interior defenders in the NFL. Holmes believes Buggs’ production would actually be better with a more concentrated role.

“Buggs is a very talented player,” Holmes said. “The real thing with Buggs is that I think he’ll be even better if everything works out in terms of—he had to play a lot of snaps last year. More snaps than we would’ve liked him to play, but due to the circumstances he just had to.”

The Lions are not alone in their pursuit of Campbell, though. He has reportedly already visited the Jaguars and Falcons, and he is scheduled to meet with the Jets and Bills this week. It’s unclear if the Lions have set up a visit with Campbell yet. It appears, though, the veteran, All-Pro defender will take his time in choosing his next destination.