It’s been a hectic offseason for General Manager (GM) Bob Quinn and the Detroit Lions, but are they finished yet?
The Detroit Lions already have a crammed linebacker room, but that shouldn’t deter them from trying to upgrade their roster. GM Bob Quinn oddly decided to move on from starter and team captain Devon Kennard after the organization signed former Patriot Jamie Collins. Collins has proven that he has the ability to play at a pro bowl level in a Matt Patricia style defense.
It was a good signing for Quinn, the Lions linebacker core last season struggled mightily at times. Both Kennard and rookie Jahlani Tavai solidified the group. Jarrad Davis proved to be a capable blitzing backer but missed far too many tackles.
Although I was immediately intrigued to see Collins on one edge and Kennard on the other, the Lions weren’t nearly as interested. Detroit moved on from Kennard; he was scooped up quickly by the Arizona Cardinals. Since then, the Detroit Lions have added middle linebacker Reggie Ragland way of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and Elijah Lee, who is primarily a special teamer.
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I’d feel a lot more comfortable about the Detroit Lions defense if they felt the need to upgrade the services of Christain Jones. I understand he was recently signed to an in-season contract extension. Remember how he performed immediately after signing? Not good. He’s undoubtedly worth a roster spot but I’d prefer to see Jones work on special teams and in more of a backup role.
If the Detroit Lions decided to keep Davis around, I’d like to see Patricia deploy him as an edge rusher to know if he can be productive in that type of role. It won’t help his missed tackling problem, but he’s proven to be a disruptive force in the backfield—something the Detroit Lions need more often.
The Detroit Lions should have about $10 million in cap space left to spend. That is taking into consideration the organization will need to sign their 2020 rookie class and perhaps extending star receiver Kenny Golladay.
The top pass-rusher left on the market is Jadeveon Clowney. One can assume the Lions won’t have the funds to lure him to Detroit. If they did spend to acquire Clowney, a summer extension with Golladay would likely be out of the question.
If the Lions are in the market for an edge rusher, they should consider Markus Golden, who recorded ten sacks last season with the New York Giants. Golden isn’t perfect, but he’d be a much cheaper option plus be an upgrade to Jones or a Davis experiment for that matter.
Last season Pro Football Focus (PFF) placed a 60.3 overall grade on Golden. He made 57 tackles and 37 total hurries. The Arizona Cardinals initially drafted Golden in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He recorded 12.5 sacks with the Cards in 2016 but managed just 2.5 over the next two seasons combined. Last year playing for a new contract he looked rejuvenated.
Golden is a player the Lions should consider signing, especially if they have an opportunity to land him with a similar deal to what the New York Jets recently signed Jordan Jenkins too. Jenkins with a similar skill-set to Golden and has been more consistent throughout his career just signed a one-year $5 million deal.