The Detroit Lions have come into the offseason looking to make additions across the roster and especially on defense. Once again, the team has struck with an under-the-radar move to do just that.
According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Lions have agreed to sign free agent linebacker Alex Anzalone, formally of the New Orleans Saints.
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According to Garafolo, the deal was a reported one-year, $1.75 million dollar pact in order to get the veteran linebacker into the fold.
Detroit lost a linebacker this offseason in Jarrad Davis, and it’s been assumed the team could need to make fixes here a priority this offseason. Anzalone isn’t likely to do this himself, but he can be a nice addition for a defense which has struggled at the spot in recent years.
Anzalone’s Stats and Highlights
Coming into the NFL as a third-round pick out of Florida in 2017, it didn’t take Anzalone long to make his presence felt with the Saints and become one of the team’s fan favorites. With his flowing locks and tough style, Anzalone managed to put up decent stats with the Saints and has 123 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 interception and 3 passes defended to his credit while in the league. If there’s been one red flag about Anzalone’s career at this point in time, it’s been injuries. He suffered a shoulder injury in 2017 and then was placed on the IR in 2019 with a knee injury.
Clearly, though, there is plenty to like here for the Lions. At just 26, Anzalone comes to the Lions on a prove-it contract, and is someone that can help lay the groundwork for a turnaround on defense. He will know Dan Campbell as well as Aaron Glenn, so there is some good familiarity for the team and Anzalone to rely on for this signing and it’s future.
A look at the highlights from his first few seasons in the NFL shows an explosive athlete.
Seeing Anzalone continue to do good work in the pros in a scheme that could be familiar to him would figure to be a big win for the Lions.
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Linebacker a Major Lions Defensive Need
The Lions have needs not only in the trenches but on the back end of their defense as well. Aside from additions at cornerback and safety, the team could also look to make more additions at linebacker and along the defensive line, although bringing back Romeo Okwara, signing Charles Harris and trading for Michael Brockers was a great start for Detroit as it relates to that.
The Lions have lost a key contributor in Jarrad Davis this offseason, so the goal for the team should be to continue to improve things at linebacker. This signing doesn’t mean the Lions can’t make the spot a huge focus in the draft, and that is what they should continue to think about the rest of this offseason now that Anzalone is reportedly in the fold.