Detroit Lions: 3 pending free agents to watch in Super Bowl LV

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Detroit Lions
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As we trek towards the start of Super Bowl LV, I can’t help but focus on three pending free agent players the Detroit Lions should consider targeting this offseason.

It is really amazing that we’ve made it this far, folks.  The year 2020 continued to punch all of us in the gut, and when it felt like things were starting to brighten up, COVID-19 knocked us back down.  As the calendar rolled from ’20 to ’21, things didn’t change very much, but we’ve made it to this day, and that seemed so far-fetched about six or seven months ago.

It was anything but an ordinary season, but somehow the NFL managed to navigate its way through the chaos getting us to Super Bowl LV.  As the Kansas City Chiefs prepare to square off against the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, Patrick Mahomes looks to go back-to-back. Tom Brady looks to continue stockpiling championship titles as he looks to win his record seventh Super Bowl.

After fighting through those storylines, here are three pending free agents the Detroit Lions need to keep tabs on during the contest.

The Detroit Lions should focus on Lavonte David in Super Bowl LV.

It seems crazy to me that star linebacker Lavonte David is already 31-years old.  Time flies.  I also believe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will prioritize re-signing David this offseason, but things will get tricky with the decreasing salary cap.

The Bucs are not in an awful position in the way of the cap.  Their entire starting offensive line is all under contract heading into the 2021 season.  Brady, Mike Evans, Ronald Jones, Cameron Brate, and O.J. Howard is all locked up, plus all of their receivers not named Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown are set to return.

On the defensive side of the football, things are a bit murkier.  Ndamukong Suh, Shaquil Barrett, and David headline the defenders set to hit the open market.

I’d expect the Bucs hope to retain Barrett knowing how much stock is put into elite-type pass-rushers in this day and age.  David, a six-time captain, should also be atop the Bucs list, but at 31-years old, he may not be as much of a priority as I expect.

The Bucs invested in Devin White, the pair of stellar linebackers who lead this talented Tampa defense, and in a perfect world, they will continue to do so.  According to Spotrac, the Bucs have 30 players signed for the 2021 season, accounting for $150 million.

The salary cap is expected to drop from $198.6 million to $175 million.  That may leave David expendable, and having a talented player in White already in place; he’d be a perfect mentor for David’s much-cheaper replacement.

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), David earned a solid 81.6 overall grade for 2020; that mark includes a stellar 83.8 mark in coverage (something Detroit struggles with) and a 78.9 grade defending the run.

David’s 82 solo tackles ranked 10th among all NFL linebackers.  The veteran LB also forced three fumbles and one interception during the regular season.

The Detroit Lions need a wholesale change at linebacker, and adding a player like David to mentor what is expected to be a new, young core wouldn’t be a bad thing.  Adding David to Jamie Collins at the second level of the defense has the makings of something despite both being on the wrong side of 30.

David should command somewhere around $11 million per season on the open market.