The Detroit Lions will begin shopping for their biggest needs in 2020 in a few months, and while it’s certainly early to think about who they might target, some names have come to the forefront in free agency.
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.
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 Cap Space in 2020
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.
Lions Biggest 2020 Free Agency Need is Defense
Detroit could not pressure the quarterback meaningfully in 2019, and struggled stopping the pass as well, something that has been painfully obvious for weeks and that is a glaring problem given what the team has done in the last few offseason periods. Part of the problem has been injury, but beyond Trey Flowers and Da’Shawn Hand, the Lions simply don’t have any young building blocks they can count on right now. The team has to find some form of consistency in the trenches, and that is why it’s a major need for them moving forward.
If free agency were to begin today, the Lions would undoubtably have to look at the defensive line and the backfield for potential upgrades, with another eye at linebacker. Having some extra money could help the team make some key additions there, and patch some of their other depth holes on the offensive side.
Early on, these are some of the names that could come into play for the Lions when choosing how to solve their biggest needs.
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