The Detroit Lions weren’t able to sign defensive end Willie Young to a contract before he officially became an unrestricted free agent and Young is wasting little time taking advantage of the opportunity. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Young already has a visit lined up with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Lions free-agent DE Willie Young is visiting the Jaguars.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2014
As a former seventh-round pick, the development of Young is one of the Lions’ better draft success stories and watching him leave via free agency would be tough. While his sack totals haven’t been overly impressive, the rate at which Young generates pressure on the quarterback is among the best of any 4-3 defensive end in the league.
Defensive ends have made some nice money on new deals in the early hours of free agency and Young may be the next to cash in. While the top targets like Michael Bennett and Michael Johnson are off the table, a new crop of free agents who were just released may push ahead of Young in the pecking order. The Dallas Cowboys released Demarcus Ware while the Chicago Bears are moving on without Julius Peppers. Teams with some money to spend may elect for the bigger names to make a splash. If that supresses the remaining defensive end market, the Lions may be in better position to bring Young back.