Lions Projected to Land Tough Bills Linebacker in Free Agency

Matt Milano

Getty Matt Milano celebrates in the 2021 playoffs.

The Detroit Lions won’t have much money to spend as they set their sights toward free agency, but could be ready to make a few good value buys on the open market when they begin to make those decisions in a month’s time.

Defense is a huge need for the Lions, and with a lack of top prospects early in the draft that could make sense, the Lions might be left to exploring free agency for a moderately priced buy. In a new piece with Pro Football Focus, the destinations for the top 50 free agents are projected by Anthony Treash.

Treash had the Lions tagging Kenny Golladay, which wasn’t a surprise given what his site has been predicting. Later on, he had them signing Buffalo Bills’ linebacker Matt Milano, another impending free agent for the defense.

He wrote:

“Buffalo has some tough decisions to make this offseason, and one of them could be letting Milano walk in free agency. Detroit doesn’t have much cap space, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team do everything in its power to create room for a Golladay tag and an upgrade at off-ball linebacker. The Lions’ linebacker room outside of Jamie Collins Sr. struggled mightily in 2020, with Reggie Ragland and Jahlani Tavai each posting 35.7 coverage grades.

Milano has been rather inconsistent but has looked like one of the top coverage linebackers in the league at times. Back in 2018 and 2019, he ranked 14th and fourth, respectively, in coverage grade. Yet, his run defense and tackling have underwhelmed. Milano posted sub-60.0 grades against the run, in coverage and as a tackler in 2020, leading him to a PFF WAR rank of 37th at the position.”

Obviously, the Lions could spend a bit bigger, but Milano would be a good upgrade for a team that simply hasn’t had playmakers at linebacker the last few seasons on the field.

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Matt Milano Stats

Since coming into the league out of Boston College as a fifth-round draft pick in 2017, the Buffalo linebacker has done a solid job becoming a good rotational player for the Bills. He’s put up 273 tackles and 6 sacks so far in his career to go along with 5 interceptions, 21 passes defended, 1 touchdown and 5 fumble recoveries. These numbers paint the picture of a player who can do a bit of everything on the field and get after it in a big way in multiple different spots at a key position on the defense.

At just 26, Milano’s best days are theoretically ahead of him at this point in time and he could be a force in the league for a while. It will have to be the right situation, and the Lions might be that team if they make the financial commitment.


Linebacker Huge Need for Lions

Whether it’s signing a player like Milano or finding a draft pick such as Micah Parsons as has been rumored recently, it’s clear that the Lions are going to have to do something to improve the position. Jarrad Davis is an impending free agent and his future is in the air. Young Jahlani Tavai might not be the answer at the spot either. There are some veterans on the roster, but the Lions need to think about who might improve their defense the most and make a move with those players.

Will Milano be a guy that brings them that when all is said and done? It’s more than possible, and it’s what PFF is predicting for the offseason at this point in time.

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