Lions Reach Savvy Agreement With Key Defensive Free Agent to Return

Isaiah Buggs

Getty Isaiah Buggs greets the fans leaving the field after a 2023 game vs. Chicago.

The Detroit Lions had decisions to make with some of their own free agents, and ahead of the beginning of free agency, at least one of those has come to a head.

Detroit reached an agreement with defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs on a contract to return. As Tom Pelissero of NFL Network first revealed, Buggs is sticking around on a two year deal that is worth up to $6 million dollars.

“The Lions are re-signing DL Isaiah Buggs to a two-year deal worth up to $6 million, per source,” Pelissero tweeted.

Soon after those reports, the Lions officially revealed the re-signing with a tweet of their own.

Financially, it’s a great deal for both the Lions and Buggs. Detroit gets some help they can count on for the defensive line, while Buggs gets a chance to earn more money. As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press explained, Buggs made a nice chunk of change.

“On Isaiah Buggs’ extension with the Lions, he gets $2.1M fully guaranteed at signing. $4.5M base, with another $1.5M available in incentives. Buggs was a key contributor on that DL, found a home in Detroit and wanted to return,” Birkett tweeted.

The Lions keep Buggs around, and the lineman earned a new deal. It’s a good start to a needy side of the ball on defense in free agency.

Isaiah Buggs Wanted Return to Lions

Bringing Buggs back was a no-brainer for Detroit. Why? The player himself had long been speaking about his desire to return to the team.

As Buggs tweeted directly to the team earlier this offseason, he was ready to “run it back” with Detroit for the future.

“Lions I’m ready to run it back,” Buggs tweeted.

Buggs isn’t the only key free agent that is craving a Detroit return. Defensive lineman John Cominsky, who was also signed before camp this year and excelled, has said he wants to come back with the team in 2023 as well. Cominsky may well be the next to return.

Seeing Buggs and his desire to return along with the similar desires of others just proves the quality culture the team is building. Players want to be in the mix now, and they desire to stick around when they do come to the team.

Buggs will now be rewarded with his return financially and otherwise.

Isaiah Buggs Enjoyed Solid 2022 Season for Lions

While many could have seen Buggs as merely a depth lineman coming to Detroit, savvy fans understood how he changed the game for the team’s defensive front during the season.

The Lions weren’t pushed around up front as much as they may have been in the past thanks to Buggs coming into the mix and locking things down for the team in the middle. While he might not pile up big stats, he managed to play an important role for the team’s defense.

During the season, Buggs put up a total of 46 combined tackles, one pass defended and one sack. Additionally, he has been an anchor up front for the Lions in the middle of the line with Alim McNeill. The Lions needed his emergence given the health struggles of Levi Onwuzurike, Josh Paschal and others.

Buggs also became a team leader, something that became obvious when he was mic’d up late in the season.

With this in mind, Buggs has been a significant player for the Detroit defense, and someone who could be seen as the total package for the team.

Detroit could ill-afford to lose the beef and toughness he has provided the group since signing with the team just prior to the season, and to see him returning is a good development for the Lions’ defense.

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