Lions Predicted to Steal $94 Million Star From Division Rival

Dan Campbell Danielle Hunter

Getty CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin projected Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions to sign edge rusher Danielle Hunter from the Minnesota Vikings.

The Detroit Lions could really use an addition at edge rusher this offseason. What better way to accomplish that than to make that addition also a subtraction for a division rival. CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin proposed that possibility with Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter.

Benjamin linked Hunter to the Lions in his NFL free agency mock draft on February 23.

Aidan Hutchinson headlines Detroit’s front four, but the Lions need more off the edge coming off their playoff run,” Benjamin wrote. “So they rob their division-rival Vikings for Hunter, one of the most physically imposing pass rushers in the game.”

Hunter would be a significant addition to the Lions pass rush. He last made the All-Pro team in 2018, but Hunter recorded a career-high 16.5 sacks and led the NFL with 23 tackles for loss in 2023.

He’s reached double-digit sacks in five of the last seven seasons.

According to Spotrac, Hunter has made $94.8 million in his nine-year NFL career.

Why the Lions Should Target DE Danielle Hunter

The Lions finished the 2023 season ranked among the bottom six teams in passing yards allowed, passing touchdowns yielded and net yards allowed per pass attempt. Furthermore, cornerbacks Kindle Vildor, Jerry Jacobs and Emmanuel Moseley are set to become unrestricted free agents.

To be in a better position to compete for the Super Bowl, the Lions need an upgrade and add depth at cornerback. But a better pass rush would also help Detroit’s secondary.

While the Lions were first or second in pressure rate, hurry percentage and quarterback knockdown rate in 2023, they also had just 41 sacks. That was 23rd in the league.

Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and defensive tackle Alim McNeill are growing stars. Hutchinson led the Lions with 11.5 sacks during 2023. But the Lions could use a complementary edge rusher opposite Hutchinson.

Hunter fits that bill. He’s made the Pro Bowl four times in the past six years.

During 2018, he made second-team All-Pro. In 2019, he finished fifth in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Both years, Hunter had 14.5 sacks.

He only played in seven games during 2021 because of a pectoral muscle injury. Hunter also missed all of the 2020 campaign because of a neck injury.

But Hunter had 6 sacks in those seven contests during 2021. Then, he bounced back with double-digit sack seasons in 2022 and 2023.

Overall, Hunter has been on a torrid sack pace when healthy. In his last 73 games, he’s recorded 62 sacks with 77 tackles for loss and 95 quarterback hits.

The Lions adding Hunter could turn the team’s defensive line into one of the best in the league.

Other Edge Rushers Lions Could Sign in NFL Free Agency

The Lions have been previously connected to Hunter. On February 10, Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon predicted the Lions to sign Hunter to a 3-year, $67 million deal.

Pro Football Focus, which ranked him the No. 12-best available free agent this offseason, projected a similar value for Hunter on his next contract.

But the Lions could have options at edge rusher.

Fansided’s Brad Berreman encouraged Detroit to target Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns as a “tag-to-trade candidate.”

Pro Football Network’s Dallas Robinson argued the Lions should sign defensive end Bryce Huff.

The Detroit Free Press’ Jared Ramsey proposed edge rusher Leonard Floyd as a free agent target.

Burns would obviously be the biggest blockbuster signing. But PFF considers all three players top 50 free agents this offseason.

The Lions could also use the No. 29 overall selection in the first round to add an edge rusher.

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