Detroit Lions: Could signing free agent Earl Thomas help bolster defense?

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

In an attempt to breed a winning culture within their locker room, the Detroit Lions have acquired a bevy of veteran players, could they add another?

Many of these acquisitions coming via either trade or free agency this offseason in an attempt to help push the Detroit Lions forward towards their competitive aspirations and now are facing the question of whether it makes sense-or-not to pursue seven-time Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas.

Thomas, a potential Hall-of-Fame candidate, was cut by the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday following an on-field altercation with teammate Chuck Clark during training camp last week. Now, there are a handful of teams looking to contend that may potentially vie for the former-Super Bowl champion’s services.

The Detroit Lions have added multiple title-winning players this offseason, and the once “Legion of Boom” hitman certainly fits that bill. The Ravens organization announced the move via Twitter, citing that the safety was being terminated for “personal conduct that has adversely affected” the team.

More from Detroit Jock City

Both parties are likely to be met in litigation, as the team will attempt to void his guaranteed $10M salary for the 2020 season. Thomas was sent home from camp by the team on Friday after punching Clark during practice.

Following the move, Thomas posted a message on his Instagram account. “Appreciate the Ravens organization for the opportunity,” he wrote according to ESPN. “Had a great run .. Wish things would have ended different, but you live, and you learn. Thank you [Ravens GM] Eric DeCosta and everyone else who played a role in bringing him to B-More. Wish you guys the best.”

The release ends a tumultuous year for Thomas and his employer. Following a loss to the Cleveland Browns last season, the safety was involved in a fiery exchange with nose tackle Brandon Williams.

Then, earlier this year, he was involved in a domestic dispute with his wife that resulted in both him and his brother being held at gunpoint after she found the two in bed with another woman.

Because of the multiple on and off-field incidents, as well as a handful of missed team activities, the Ravens were willing to sever ties and risk by taking a $15M hit against the team’s salary cap this season.

Should the Detroit Lions assume the risk of adding Thomas to their roster?

Thomas is currently one of the most decorated safeties in the National Football League. Over the last decade, the three-time All-Pro was a key contributor to the team’s defensive success, and Super Bowl runs in 2014 and 2015. On the field, it’s safe to say that the Texas native is everything any coach would want from a defensive back.

He can still play, and as recently as last year, he was named to the Pro Bowl. However, it doesn’t make much sense for a Detroit Lions franchise at a crossroads to risk bringing in Thomas.

Ultimately, his off-field issues would potentially throw the locker room into upheaval and unrest at a time when the team is beginning to gel and unify while beginning a quest to reach the playoffs.

There are rumors that Thomas has a drinking problem, to go along with the extra-marital affairs and on-field altercations that seem to have led to a current “mid-life” crisis the NFL star is experiencing. Since 2018, his ugly divorces with both Seattle and Baltimore are evidence to suggest that he isn’t the right player for the Detroit Lions right now.

The team already seems to have a logjam at the safety position with three capable starters on the roster. The team already has a budding star and emerging team leader in third-year player Tracy Walker who’s entrenched as the team’s starting free safety.

Next to him, the Lions brought in former-New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon to play a larger role on the strong side of the field where he will be an ideal scheme fit being familiar with Head Coach Matt Patricia’s scheme.

Second-year player Will Harris is expected to spell the players and contribute in the team’s three-safety packages in a similar role that Harmon was familiar with playing for the Patriots. Add in the fact they have three reliable contributors at the corner in first-round pick Jeff Okudah, recently-acquired free agent Desmond Trufant and slot man Justin Coleman; it doesn’t seem necessary for the Lions to bring in another defensive back.

Financially, the Lions have the cap space to add a player of Thomas’ caliber. But, it seems that money would be better off being distributed to help the team improve their depth in the front seven of their defense where they need help at the edge and tackle positions.

Trending. Detroit Lions cancel practice to stand strong and united during protest. light

Peak Earl Thomas playing Sundays at Ford Field, is a dream. But right now he’s descended into a valley of personal turmoil where he’d be better off sitting out this season, or for a team better equipped to handle a player of his stature in need of support.