As you can probably tell already, by your phone going off every two seconds with a Twitter notification, NFL Free Agency has started and has really started with a bang. Odell Beckham Jr was traded to the Browns, Le’Veon Bell became a Jet and there have been multiple other high-profile moves. Due to these big names moving teams, a team’s moves have gone under the radar. That team is the Detroit Lions.
The Lions are a team that I have always had a sort of soft spot for. I cannot put my finger on why but I always liked seeing them win. However, winning has been a rarity in Detroit, but that may all change after the free agency moves they made.
Before I go into the specifics of each move, I want to say that I don’t, for a second, believe the Lions will be a challenger for a while. However, the moves they made will definitely put them in a better place to carry on improving.
The Lions started their haul off in brilliant style, by signing former Patriots defensive end, Trey Flowers on a $90 million deal over five years.
That may seem a lot of money for a defensive end who isn’t a household name, but Flowers was one of the best available free agents this offseason and the Patriots were trying hard to keep him, just on a smaller amount of money.
Flowers is a fantastic DE who can offer a lot of talent and potential to a Lions defence that has struggled in past years. Flowers will be one of the big leaders in the Detroit locker room and his presence will instantly improve a team trying to get back into contention for their division.
Although Flowers hasn’t really shone through when looking at his stats, he’s never had a double sack season, but linking back up with his former co-ordinator in Matt Patricia will be a huge positive. The Lions defence definitely got a lot better with this deal
Another ex-Patriot player was brought into the Lions defence, this time in the shape of cornerback Justin Coleman. Coleman signed a four-year, $36 million deal, which was reported as the most for a nickel cornerback. However, Coleman won’t be used in that limited position, that’s for sure.
Coleman may have been used there since leaving the Patriots but Patricia had a lot of faith in Coleman’s ability as an outside cornerback, and that’s where he will be used in this Lions setup.
Patricia obviously believes in the talent Coleman possesses otherwise he wouldn’t have paid so much money for his services. It’s hard to see how Coleman won’t improve the Lions secondary.
The Lions added a third piece to their roster as they snapped up former Steelers tight end, Jesse James, to a four-year, $22 million deal. James was mainly used as a backup during his time in Pittsburgh, however, when he was on the field, he produced some quality.
Fans were surprised with the money Detroit decided to give James, however, that’s the going rate in the first, legal tampering, days of free agency. Although I’m not too happy with the money the Lions have dished out, it may pay off in the future as James is only 24 and showing signs of improvement, every snap he plays.
The fourth significant signing of free agency so far for Detroit was the signing of another former Patriots player in wide receiver Danny Amendola. Amendola has only signed a one-year deal, worth $4.5 million, but he brings a hell of a lot of experience to the Lions and is a decent pickup.
The Lions will still be looking for a long-term replacement for ex-receiver Golden Tate but they have an experienced guy in Amendola to take that role, whilst they probably draft a receiver high and nurture him for a year or two.
Patricia knows Amendola well from their time together in Boston so it makes sense why he would draft him in for a year whilst he figures out a long-term solution to the problem. I quite like this move for the Lions and I can’t see how it will go wrong.
The Detroit Lions still have a long way to go until they start threatening the majority of the league, however, they have taken some important steps into turning their franchise around.
If they can fill in some holes with good draft picks and have them partner with some of the quality buys they’ve had so far, it’s hard to argue against the future looking bright in Detroit.