The Detroit Lions have had a busy offseason already, and though the major shopping has already been done, more moves could still be on the horizon.
With a need along the defensive line still fairly unaddressed by the free agency period outside the team re-signing John Cominsky and Isaiah Buggs, Detroit is getting a closer look at Baltimore Ravens’ free agent defensive lineman Calais Campbell.
Speaking to the media at the NFL’s owners meetings on Tuesday, March 28, Detroit head coach Dan Campbell confirmed the team is interested in adding Campbell to the mix to help out the defense.
As he said to reporters including Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, Campbell is a very impressive player, even though he is 36 years old and theoretically doesn’t have much time left on the field. The tape, according to Campbell, tells the opposite story.
“Look, we turn the tape on, man, and I’ll tell you what, you talk about a lot of respect for a big man. Oh, my gosh. I just keep watching it and I’m like, there’s no way he can feel good, that body can not feel good. But it looks like it feels good because he’s just a force to be reckoned with. You put him in a closed end, you’re not running over there. He can rush as a 3-technique, still, on third down. Man, he’s got length, he’s got size, he’s still quick. We’ll see. We’re not the only one who is on him,” Campbell said in Rogers’ piece.
Various reports have the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars also potentially interested in adding Campbell. Already, Campbell played with the Jaguars from 2017-2019, so that would be a familiar landing spot for him.
All the teams included on the list are figured to be potential contenders for the 2023 season, including Detroit. It sounds as if the team’s coaching staff is very interested in the move
Calais Campbell’s Stats & Highlights
On the field, Campbell has been one of the better players in the league for over a decade, and the production on and off the field backs up that claim.
After being a second-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2008, Campbell played in the desert until 2016, looking like one of the more feared lineman in the league. He became at least a five sack a year player in 2009, a distinction he has carried with him almost all of his seasons in the league.
In 2017, Campbell departed for Jacksonville, where he put up 31.5 sacks and 195 tackles in three years while helping the team reach the postseason and make a run in 2017. In 2019, he departed for Baltimore.
As a whole, Campbell has collected 99 sacks, 809 tackles, 16 forced fumbles, three interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries in his career which has spanned 15 years in the league.
In addition to being a solid player, Campbell is a solid person and teammate as well. He was the 2019 winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, and has also claimed the Bart Starr award in 2019 and the Art Rooney Award in 2022. The Starr Award is for character and leadership at home, on the field and in the community. The Rooney Award is for outstanding sportsmanship on the field.
To this end, Campbell could be the kind of ideal addition a young locker room looking to take the next steps could use.
Lions Defense Seeing Major 2023 Upgrades
Even if the Lions don’t manage to land Campbell, the team is clearly doing their diligence as it relates to improving what was the worst overall defense in the league statistically in 2022.
Detroit finished 32nd overall, and while their backfield struggled mightily leading to the additions of Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley and C.J. Gardner-Johnson at cornerback and safety, the defensive front also had their problems, which means they could be the next spot primed for a move.
If the Lions do elect to add another player, the defensive interior makes the most sense. Detroit finished poorly in run defense last season, having allowed 2,491 yards on the ground and over 146 per-game, good for 29th in the league. Those were some frustrating numbers that point to the need for more bodies.
Campbell could help that reality himself, and would also give the Lions a great veteran presence for a young room. To this end, Campbell would be a large addition by the Lions if the team could sell him on jumping into the fray on defense.