The Detroit Lions will be set to throw some money around in the coming days and weeks in free agency, and there are plenty of guesses as to where the team could be set to spend the most when all is said and done.
Most figure the Lions will need to boost their defense most of all when the spending begins, and that does figure to be the case given what happened on the field in 2019. But where on the defense will the spending be done?
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports who posted a piece regarding great free agency fits, watch the defensive line the closest for the biggest expenditures. Detroit could be great fits for three specific players there in Arik Armstead, Michael Pierce and Jordan Phillips. According to La Canfora, the Lions could stand snag a pair of this group. Here’s what he wrote:
“They could use two of these three given the state of the defensive line due to age, injuries, departures. This is a management team that desperately needs to get much better, ASAP, and wasn’t shy to throw around money a year ago. I suspect they will be doubling down around the line of scrimmage.”
The names that he brings up certainly are interesting. Armstead is a pass rusher many feel fits Detroit who wreaked havoc a year ago with the San Francisco 49ers, while Pierce is a defensive tackle of the Baltimore Ravens who has 161 tackles and 3.5 sacks to his credit. Phillips is a similar clogger who has played a big role for the Buffalo Bills with 13.5 career sacks at 27 years old.
Obviously, the Lions need all the help they can muster up front, so any of these additions would be well placed.
Analyst Predicts Lions Free Agent Haul
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, and could be looking to make a big commitment to defenders up front.