The Detroit Lions are attempting to improve their defensive fortunes ahead of a vital 2020 season on the field, and could be looking to add a young defender to the mix in order to help them do so.
According to Derrick Gunn of NBC Philadelphia, the Lions are a team interested in Jalen Mills, a free agent cornerback from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Detroit’s interest in Mills makes sense considering the team’s need at cornerback. The Lions are looking to reshape the position, and could look to Mills, a player who has a history with their new defensive coordinator Cory Undlin.
Mills would be far from one of the most expensive names on the market, and to that end, the team’s interest in him could be a signal that the Lions could be looking to bargain shop at cornerback.
Jalen Mills Statistics
Mills, a former seventh round pick out of LSU, is just 25 years old. He’s put up 208 tackles and 4 interceptions in the early part of his career in addition to scoring a defensive touchdown. Mills helped the Eagles win Super Bowl LII, and while playing with the Tigers, was a first team All-American in 2015.
Hypothetically, Detroit having Undlin would seem to help their chances with Mills, and would seem to also help Mills in his quest to fit in somewhere. At his age, Mills could be an important part of the team’s backfield well into the future.
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 months 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.
With free agency beginning today, the Lions will 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.
Even the experts see the defensive line as the biggest problem for the team moving forward as free agency gets set to begin soon, but that doesn’t mean other spots won’t get some play.
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 money saved from releasing Damon Harrison and the $9 million from releasing Wagner, the Lions have a bit more to spend.
The Lions could always open up more space with a few more savvy moves, and there could be other cap casualties that might impact the team’s final salary number more dramatically.
Mills might be a cheap way for the team to address their defensive needs.