The Detroit Lions have had a busy start to the new NFL season. General manager Bob Quinn has done an excellent job of identifying the teams’ needs and signing free agents to fill them.
First, a look at what’s been achieved thus far. It’s been another offseason of New England Patriot castaways lining up to sign with the Detroit Lions. It’s not all bad, Quinn was able to land former pro bowl linebacker Jamie Collins. Collins has thrived under the Belichick/Patricia defensive scheme, so Detroit’s banking on more of the same from Collins.
The Detroit Lions hope they are getting the ‘New England’ Collins rather than the Cleveland Browns’ Collins. Collins’ time in Cleveland is one forget, furthermore proving Belichick’s system does fit a specific skill-set. Collins’ return to New England inevitably rejuvenated his career, landing the 29-year old a new three-year $30-million contract with $18-million guaranteed with the Lions.
Quinn also signed career backup, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, to a lucrative five-year, $45-million deal. It’s a signing that comes without risk. Can Vaitai solidify the right side of Detroit’s offensive line as an NFL starter? There is always that chance a player thrives in the role of coming out of the bullpen in relief rather than having the pressure to be ‘the guy’ in a starting role. Vaitai, at this point, is not a sure thing.
Detroit has also traded for safety Duron Harmon and signed nose tackle Danny Shelton, both former Patriots. Harmon served as New England’s third safety while Shelton was a starting nose tackle. Both are projected to play a significant role within Detroit’s defense next season. Shelton as an early-down starting nose tackle and Harmon likely starting over second-year professional, Will Harris alongside the improving Tracy Walker. Shelton signed a fair two-year $8-million deal. Harmon’s is in the final year of his four-year $17-million contract.
Detroit has also signed corner Desmond Trufant, the former Atlanta Falcons pro bowl corner. It’s a two-year deal that averages $10.5-million. The Lions have also started to fill out their roster by signing defensive tackle Nick Williams, backup quarterback Chase Daniel, safety Jayron Kearse, and special teamer Tony McRae.
With about $10-$15 million to spend, understanding Quinn’s emergency fund of $5-$10-million for in-season additions, along with enough money to sign their upcoming draft picks remain intact. Here are three players the Lions should still consider signing.