The Detroit Lions have some decisions to make come free agency, and they will have a decent amount to spend in order to help out their team in the coming months.
So what’s the one bold move the franchise could make in order to do this? Recently, Bleacher Report writer Kristopher Knox wrote about that, and picked out the boldest move that every team could make this offseason in order to re-shape their roster.
When it came to the Lions, the choice was simple. Add to the defense in a major way by signing cornerback Chris Harris, formally of the Denver Broncos. Here’s a look at why Knox thinks that move would be so obvious for the Lions to make:
“Pass defense was a serious problem for the Detroit Lions in 2019, and the team didn’t help matters by trading safety Quandre Diggs. The Lions finished the regular season ranked dead last in passing yards allowed (284.4 per game).
Expect Detroit to be active in its search for secondary help. Expect Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. to be high on the wish list.
While Harris isn’t a former member of the New England Patriots—as a few of Matt Patricia’s free-agent targets have been—he does possess a trait long valued by the New England franchise: versatility.
Harris is capable of playing in the slot or on the outside. He’s also able to thrive in both man and zone coverages. Adding him to the roster would give Patricia more flexibility with the back end of his defense, which can only help Detroit’s pass defense improve.”
Harris has been a solid player in Denver, putting up 518 tackles and 20 interceptions during his career. As pointed out, he’s got versatility and can be a player to do a little bit of everything in the team’s backfield.
The Lions tried to deal for Harris before the 2019 NFL trade deadline, so there could be the added benefit of some interest there.
Analyst Names Lions Free Agency Targets
Recently, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press was asked in a mailbag segment what free agents he could see the Lions targeting, and proceeded to name plenty that could be of interest to the team when the negotiating period opens in March. Not shockingly, cornerback was a selection there, too.
According to Birkett, there is one side of the ball that is likely to see the most upgrade, and it’s the defensive side. Birkett thinks that the Lions will prioritize a cornerback, a lineman and a backup quarterback for the team this offseason the heaviest.
Here’s a look at what he wrote on the names that could eventually be in play for Detroit when all is said and done:
“The Lions need a cornerback, no matter what they decide to do with Darius Slay, and Byron Jones might be the best option. He tackles, he’s got size, and I don’t know how the Dallas Cowboys can bring him back given the other contracts they have to hand out.
I’d be stunned if the Lions don’t sign a veteran to back up Matthew Stafford. They showed some interest in Case Keenum last year, but couldn’t afford his salary. He won’t cost nearly as much as a free agent, so he’d be a possibility.
Ex-Patriots like Elandon Roberts will probably be on any Lions’ free-agent list, and while I doubt the Kansas City Chiefs let defensive tackle Chris Jones reach free agency, he should be the Lions’ No. 1 target if he’s available.”
Unsurprisingly, defense could be the major focus, and that makes sense for a team that finished the 2019 season in dreadful fashion on that side of the ball.
Lions 2020 Cap Space
Detroit will have a decent chunk of change to spend this offseason, having restructured Matthew Stafford’s deal to push their cap space to around $50 million dollars for the coming season. With this money, the Lions will have multiple different needs to address including the defensive line, secondary as well as potential upgrades on offense.
The Lions could always open up more space with a few savvy moves, and there could be other cap casualties that might impact the team’s final salary number more dramatically ahead of March.
For now, though, the Lions have a decent amount of money to spend to patch several of the holes they will be dealing with.
Perhaps one of their expenditures could be Harris, an elite veteran cornerback.
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