Lions Sign Former First-Round Defensive End Away From Division Rival

Marcus Davenport

Getty Marcus Davenport makes a tackle in a game against the Carolina Panthers.

The Detroit Lions are making a move to bolster their pass rush, signing a former first-round pick away from a division rival.

Mike Garofolo of the NFL Network reported that the Lions agreed to terms with defensive end Marcus Davenport, bringing the former Minnesota Vikings edge rusher to Detroit on a one-year deal. The move adds some veteran depth to the defensive while addressing one of the team’s biggest areas of need.

Marcus Davenport Reunites With Former Coaches

The 27-year-old Davenport started his career with the New Orleans Saints, where current Lions head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn were assistant coaches.’s Vito Chirco reported that Davenport is coming to Detroit on a one-year contract for $6.5 million and worth up to $10.5 million with incentives.

As Chirco noted, Davenport was a productive end with the Saints, registering 9.0 total sacks in 2021, but has seen a dip in production over the last two seasons. Davenport suffered an ankle injury that limited him to four games last season, making seven total tackles with four sacks and earning a 55.4 overall grade from PFF.

“In signing Davenport, the Lions are hoping the 6-foot-6, 265-pound defender reverts to his pre-Minnesota level of production,” Chirco wrote. “If he does, he’ll end up being a valuable piece for the Lions’ defense. At this present juncture, he profiles as a rotational pass-rusher for Detroit. And, if he’s able to stay healthy, he might just end up being the perfect EDGE complement to Pro Bowler Aidan Hutchinson.”

The Lions struggled to create a consistent pass rush outside of Hutchinson’s contributions. Second-year edge rusher James Houston failed to replicate his breakout rookie season, when he registered eight sacks in seven games.

Houston missed most of the season after suffering a fractured ankle, appearing in just two games and making one tackle.

Lions Lose Out on Rumored Defensive Line Target

While the Lions were able to address their defensive line by agreeing to terms with Davenport, they lost out on another rumored target when former Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins agreed to a four-year, $100 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano had noted earlier in the week that the Lions were one of the teams interested in Wilkins.

“After Chris Jones landed a big deal on Saturday night, Miami’s Christian Wilkins is likely to be a hot name, with contending teams such as the Texans and Lions looking to upgrade at that position,” wrote Graziano.’s All Lions’ Christian Booher also suggested that Wilkins “could be a game-changer for the Lions.”

“Wilkins will be a big addition wherever he winds up, and has the ability to be a difference-making element,” wrote Booher. “With the Lions’ needs, it would be a significant move that would signal Detroit’s desire to compete for a Super Bowl.”

The Lions were relatively quiet on the opening of the NFL’s legal tampering window on March 11, signing Davenport and pulling off a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for veteran cornerback Carlton Davis.

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