Some of the names have changed a bit, but it’s clear there is still good talent out there for the Lions if they want to make one more splashy addition to their defense this offseason. Arguably, Detroit’s weakness is theoretically up front considering what they have added this offseason and have on the roster. Fortunately, the chance still exists for them to shore this need up a bit before the season begins.
So what is left on the market for the Lions? Here’s a look at some of the best options for the team that are still out there as the team pushes closer to the start of the season.
Marcell Dareus, Defensive Tackle
Outside of drafting John Penisini, the Lions didn’t add anything in the interior of their defensive line during the NFL Draft. They’re depending on big things from Danny Shelton who should help, but if the team needed another space eater, a guy like Dareus could make plenty of sense as an addition. 365 tackles and 37.5 sacks are solid numbers for the big man in the middle, and he could be an interesting addition to the Lions front which could provide some depth and playmaking ability.
Jabaal Sheard, Defensive End
Sheard is a player who came into his own a bit in Matt Patricia’s scheme in New England, racking up 387 combined tackles and 51.5 sacks in his career. With the Indianapolis Colts, Sheard racked up 15.5 sacks the last 3 years and has been very productive. He could come at a much lower cost than some of the other options on the list and is a player who will be able to match the experience the team has up front within the team’s defense. Sheard is the kind of player who would be an interesting low depth buy for the Lions to consider at this point in the offseason.
Jadeveon Clowney, Edge
There’s one more splash to be made on the market by somebody, and Clowney represents it. It’s probably more wise to think the Lions would elect to go with a player like Sheard or Dareus if they were to sign another player at this point in the offseason, but the team does have plenty of money left to spend if they so choose. Clowney, of course, has been productive in his NFL career, putting up 32 career sacks while playing in 3 Pro Bowls and being a second team All Pro player. It’s possible he has backed off his original contractual demands a bit, which means he could come to Detroit on a bit of a better value. If the Lions are serious about contending for a Super Bowl, it might be smart for them to make a big splash late in the free agency period.
Clay Matthews, Edge
In his career, Matthews has put up 519 tackles and 91.5 sacks. He’s more well known for his work with the Green Bay Packers especially to Lions fans, and at 33, still has some game left. Detroit could choose to use Matthews in a situational role which would probably be the best way for anyone to handle Matthews at this point in his career. In that type of situation, the Lions would be able to get a player who once tormented them at a solid price point.
Cameron Wake, Defensive End
The 38 year old Wake might not seem to have much left in the tank, but on a short term veteran deal, the Lions could score. He’s collected 100.5 sacks in his career, has been a 5 time Pro Bowl player and has already played in a scheme that could fit given his time with the Titans last year. Wake saw his 2019 season end due to injury, but if he is healthy and wants to give it another go, the Lions could be a team that could give him a chance to play the type of role he wants near the end of his career.
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