Lions Showing ‘Interest’ in Former 1st-Round Defensive Lineman

Dan Campbell Arik Armstead

Getty NFL insider Aaron Wilson reported that head coach Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions are among the teams interested in defensive lineman Arik Armstead.

The Detroit Lions have already signed defensive Marcus Davenport in NFL free agency. But the Lions potentially have their eyes on another veteran defensive lineman — Arik Armstead.

NFL insider Aaron Wilson reported on March 13 that the Lions are among three teams expressing interest in the veteran defensive lineman.

“Texas among teams including Bengals and Lions with interest in Arik Armstead who hasn’t been released officially yet,” wrote Wilson on X (formerly Twitter).

Armstead has spent his entire 9-year career with the San Francisco 49ers. He posted 5 sacks with 4 tackles for loss and 13 quarterback hits in 2023.

NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco reported on March 10 that the 49ers asked Armstead to take a “significant” pay cut for the 2024 season. However, Armstead declined.

Under his current contract, Armstead will have a $28.35 million cap hit for the 2024 season. Because of that cap hit, Maiocco added the 49ers will likely release the veteran defensive tackle.

In 116 career games, Armstead has posted 302 combined tackles, including 43 tackles for loss. He has also recorded 88 quarterback hits with 33.5 sacks, 6 pass defenses and 3 forced fumbles.

What DT Arik Armstead Could Provide to the Lions

Armstead has experience playing at both defensive end and defensive tackle. That versatility will be attractive to NFL teams in free agency.

In Detroit, though, the Lions likely see Armstead as a defensive tackle addition. The Lions could use an upgrade over 26-year-old defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike. He had just 5 combined tackles and 1 sack in 10 games last season.

The Lions have also already added an upgrade at defensive end in Davenport.

Armstead could slot in nicely with the Lions next to budding star defensive tackle Alim McNeill. In 2023, McNeill had a career-high 5 sacks and 10 quarterback hits.

Last season, Armstead also had 5 sacks with 4 tackles for loss and 13 quarterback hits in 12 games. Although Armstead has never made the Pro Bowl, which is a bit disappointing since he’s a former first-round pick, he’s posted at least 5 sacks in three of the past five seasons.

McNeill was one of just two Lions defenders who had 5 sacks or more during 2023.

Lions Restructure Contract for DE John Cominsky

While Lions fans wait for the team’s next additional along the defensive line, they can celebrate the contract restructure for veteran John Cominsky.

The defensive end agreed to reduce his base salary from $5.1 million to $2.5 million. The renegotiation awarded Cominsky an extra $500,000 bonus while also lowering his cap hit from $6.3 million to $4.2 million.

The Lions already entered the offseason among the leaders in salary cap space. But Cominsky’s new deal will give the team a little extra flexibility. Potentially, that could make a difference in signing another defensive linemen such as Armstead.

Spotrac reported on March 13 that the Lions possess $28.4 million in cap space remaining for the 2024 season. That ranked 12th in the NFL.

Detroit entered the offseason with cornerback its biggest need. Since March 11, the Lions have added veteran cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Amik Robertson. Also in free agency, they signed Davenport at defensive end and re-signed offensive linemen Graham Glasgow and Dan Skipper.

Whether it’s Armstead or another free agent, based simply on needs yet to be fulfilled, it’s likely defensive tackle will be the next position the Lions address in free agency.

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