NFL Free Agency officially starts today at 4 pm. The Lions are coming off a disappointing end to their season losing their last 4 games including in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. However, their GM Bob Quinn was able to put together a playoff team in his first year and will look to continue that success going forward into his second year. Here I will highlight five players the Lions should target.
1. Ricky Wagner – OT – Baltimore Ravens
Reports have come in that say he has already agreed to a deal with Detroit around $9 million a year. He will more than likely replace Riley Reiff on the right side of the offensive line. Wagner provides an upgrade in both pass and run blocking according to Pro Football Focus and should help the Lion’s improve their atrocious run game and keep Stafford upright. Once this becomes official this will be a huge get for Quinn and the Lions.
2. Dont’a Hightower – LB – New England
This would be the biggest signing for the Lions if they were to land Hightower. He would fit an immediate need for them. He’s a versatile LB who can rush the passer, stop the run and most importantly for the Lions cover opposing tight ends and running backs. He is going to demand a very high price and is still considering a return to the Patriots so the price must be right but I believe he would be worth it. He is special player and could put the Lions defense over the edge and make it a top 10 unit in the NFL again.
3. Larry Warford – OG – Detroit Lions
The Lions should really focus on trying to resign Warford to a deal. Options like D.J. Fluker are also a possibility if Warford were to walk but I think they should really try an get a deal done with Warford. He is young and has been one their lone bright spots on the offensive line over the past few years. Warford is familiar with the offense and the team and if it means they might have to pay him but I believe that there aren’t any significantly better options.
4. Logan Ryan – CB – New England
The Lions have been connected to Ryan and have emerged as one of the leaders to sign him. The connection with Bob Quinn (Quinn being the former director of pro scouting with NE) can only help the situation. Ryan can play either the inside or outside and brings tremendous versatility. Pro Football Focus had him ranked as the 16th best corner last year. He will likely be paid a good chunk of change but if the Lions don’t sign Hightower to a large deal I think Ryan would be worth it. He would solidify the secondary and provide consistency to a group that was largely inconsistent outside of Darius Slay.
5. Alan Branch – DT – New England
See a pattern here? The New England connection along with the fact that Branch went to school only an hour down the road in Ann Arbor are reasons to that Branch would be a good fit with the Lions. The veteran would provide depth behind Ngata and Robinson on the interior line at a fair price.
Captain Munnerlyn – CB – Minnesota Vikings, Brandon Flowers – CB – Los Angeles Chargers, Jacquies Smith – DE – Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kamar Aiken – WR – Baltimore Ravens