With the NFL combine behind them, Detroit Lions are setting their sights on the next part of the offseason, which involves free agency and the start of the offseason.
Detroit is looking for help, especially on defense. Most figure the Lions to be involved in the cornerback market early on, and the biggest name with regards to that remains Jalen Ramsey.
On the trading block from the Los Angeles Rams, Ramsey’s name has been drawn to Detroit in recent days, with many calling him a logical fit. That continues within league circles as the offseason draws ever closer.
According to an update from the combine from ESPN insider Jeremy Fowler, the Lions continue to come up around the league as a team with interest in Ramsey. With that said, Fowler reminded that true intentions with the team are unknown.
“As for Ramsey, several teams are pegging the Detroit Lions as a viable option, but Detroit has been a build-through-the-draft team under GM Brad Holmes, so true intentions are yet to be determined,” Fowler wrote within the piece.
The Lions have been mentioned plenty as involved in the market for Ramsey early on, but as Fowler points out, the team’s plans are closely guarded. 2023 offers a deep class at cornerback, and the Lions may have to give up picks in order to get Ramsey into the fold.
Detroit could also sign some free agent cornerbacks and not have to cough up any assets directly, so the level of their interest in Ramsey will depend on how much they feel they have to surrender in a trade, and the value of bringing in a player like Ramsey over all others.
For now, though, the potential for a Ramsey trade still exists in the market until the Lions make other moves to prove it’s not the case.
How Jalen Ramsey Could Fit Lions’ Defense
No matter where you look, the Lions defense had some major problems during the 2022 season, and most of them stemmed from stopping big plays.
The Lions finished 32nd in total defense this past season, and struggled against both the run and the pass. Against the run, they finished 29th with a total of 2,491 yards allowed and 22 touchdowns.
In the secondary, these problems seemed to be the greatest most of the year. As a result, cornerback could be on the menu for the Lions early and often due to the fact that the team finished 30th in the league in pass defense, allowing 4,179 yards through the air.
Any available veteran cornerbacks that fit the scheme are sure to attract interest from the team as a result of this, both in free agency and via trade. The team is also figured to scour a deep draft class as well for more young talent.
More than veteran corners, though, the Lions could benefit from a star at the position. At 28 years old, Ramsey has solid years left and could help the Lions as they push into their contention window. He could help a young defense not only with leadership, but elite play.
To that end, depending on cost, this deal could be a win for a Lions team that is looking to make the next step toward becoming a serious NFC contender.
Lions Philosophy May Prevent Jalen Ramsey Deal
As much as the Lions might be in-play for Ramsey theoretically, many are beginning to make the case that the team might not strike a deal in the end.
During the NFL combine, Detroit head coach Dan Campbell spoke with the media on Wednesday, March 1 and discussed where the Lions are at. In the last two years, the Lions have signed middle tier free agents and done well to turn things around. As Justin Rogers of the Detroit News explained, this could close the door on a possible Ramsey deal in the end.
“Campbell said focus is about getting better, finding guys who can contribute and fill a role this offseason, not swinging for the big-money star. Reading the leaves, that’s a no on Jalen Ramsey. Probably,” Rogers tweeted.
In terms of the actual quote, it was a bit longer when Campbell met with the media on Wednesday, March 1, but it did showcase what Rogers was talking about. That the Lions might be content to sign more underrated players than making a huge splash.
“A number of ways you can go with it, but I think we both kind of came away and said ‘alright, we’re going to year three, we’ve got a little bit more wiggle room but let’s just get better. Let’s find a guy that can serve a certain type of role for us.’ Somebody (that) maybe played some ball, he can start at a certain position for us, but we don’t need to acquire these high-level, you’re paying the most for these guys because they’re rated the number one guy in free agency at that position (players). We just need to get better. Let’s just get better in an area that we need to get better at, and I think that’s always been the focus,” Campbell told the media.
While this doesn’t eliminate the Lions from pursuing Ramsey, it could show what the organization thinks of a dramatic move like trading for a top flight cornerback and giving up assets.
Still, until a Ramsey deal is consummated elsewhere, bet on the Lions continuing to generate buzz as it relates to his market as this update shows.