How the Detroit Lions are winning free agency


The Lions jumped out to an unexpected start to free agency. Just before 4pm on Tuesday the Lions completed a blockbuster trade with that Baltimore Ravens that sent 5 time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to the Lions.

This move along with the quieter moves the Lions have made the past two days is proof that the Lions are not straying from the “win now” mentality. If you have read any of my work you will notice I talk a lot about simplicity being the key for the Lions in this free agency period. The Lions are taking the Moneyball approach. By that I mean the Lions are not buying names, they are buying production. While Ngata is certainly a household name, I wouldn’t expect the Lions to grab any more. That;s the way it should be. The Buccaneers are a perfect example of what can happen to a team when they put all their eggs into the superstar basket. The Broncos just the same, they went all in only to be eliminated early from the playoffs.  It all equates to the simple fact that names don’t win games and loading up in free agency can be a curse instead if a blessing.

Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions /

Detroit Lions

Nevertheless here are the moves the Lions have made thus far and how they help.

Haloti Ngata

Ndamukong Suh is a first-rate talent that will be missed. While the pain of losing Suh cut deep, the addition of Ngata fills that empty feeling quite well, almost all the way. Ngata is one of the best defensive tackles in the game, a future Hall of Famer in most eyes, and the guy Ndamukong Suh was compared to coming out of Nebraska in the 2010 NFL Draft. The best part is Ngata comes at a fraction of the cost of Suh and with similar production. While there is talk of an extension, having Ngata on a one year rental is also beneficial for the Lions. If things don’t work out they can enter free agency next season with even more cap space than this year and try to make a run at a younger tackle like Marcel Dareus. Ngata brings familiarity to Detroit as well. He has played with Ihedigbo and Bynes and has worked with Caldwell and Austin in Baltimore. Ngata should be able to make an instant impact In Detroit.

Josh Bynes

In my opinion Josh Bynes is the quiet move you’ll be glad the Lions made. By re-signing Bynes the Lions bolster the depth at the linebacker position. The stats don’t tell the full story on Bynes and his late season success he had with Detroit. Bynes came on strong during Detroit loss to Arizona and never let up the rest of the season. While it’s expected that Kyle Van Noy will take Palmers spot next season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bynes challenge him for it. Either way he is quality depth and at 25 he still has plenty of time to improve.

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Isa Abdul-Quddus

Special teams isn’t the sexiest thing in the world. But what the Lions have in Quddus is one of the best special teams players in the league. Quddus missed the Pro Bowl this past January but was near the top in votes at one point in time. Quddus also provided excellent depth at safety. He is not a guy that will be a superstar but he is a guy that is important to this team.

Matt Prater

After last years early kicking woes, the Lions needed help and needed it badly. In came Matt Prater. Fresh off a suspension for alcohol abuse, Prater came in a shook off the rust quick and put forth a productive season that included a dramatic walk off field goal win in London. Once the season was over Prater immediately showed his interest in returning to the Lions in 2015. His wish was granted as has received a 3 year deal. Prater is a pro bowl kicker who should have an even bigger year this upcoming season after a chance to go through camp with the rest of special teams.

The moves that weren’t made

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The Lions have decided to move on from Nick Fairley. This is a sign of the Lions unwillingness to put up with Fairley anymore. Whether it was weight issues, legal issues or injuries, Fairley’s tenure in Detroit can be summed up with one word “disappointment.” It wasn’t all bad, Fairley did have some flashes of greatness and maturity. But for this writer, I can’t help but feel the bad outweighs the good. The Lions will also move on from C.J. Mosely. The speculation behind this is his incident with marijuana in London likely led to his dismissal.

The Lions have thus far played it smart and not overpaid for a superstar player and have mostly been quiet during free agency. Waiting for the deals to shake out and the market to settle. There is still a bevy of talent left on the board. I would look for the Lions to get the most out of their money instead of spending it all on one guy.

What do you think? Are the Lions making the right moves? Leave your comments below. Follow us on Twitter @DetroitJockCity or @Lionmike26

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