Could the Detroit Lions new head coach, New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, target one of his ex-Patriots in free agency this offseason?
On defense, the Detroit Lions look to have an entirely new coaching staff when the 2018 NFL regular season kicks off. That’s thanks to changes already being made by New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who is long rumored to become the Lions’ new head coach once his coaching responsibilities are concluded following next weekend’s Super Bowl.
So if Patricia is going to be bringing in his own people to join the Lions’ coaching staff defensively, it’s reasonable to assume he’ll do the same with some of the players on that side of the ball as well.
An area Patricia will surely address is the Lions’ defensive secondary. It’s a unit that ranked 27th in both passing defense and receiving defense in 2017, allowing 257.5 yards per game to opposing receivers last season.
It just so happens that two Lion cornerbacks, Nevin Lawson, a 15-game starter from last season and D.J. Hayden are both free agents this offseason. If Patricia wants to bring in someone he trusts to fill those voids, he’ll have a couple of familiar options according to one Lions’ insider.
"“Two New England corners are in the last years of their deals — Malcolm Butler and ex-Lions corner Johnson Bademosi,” wrote ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. “So they would have familiarity with Matt Patricia. Butler might be too expensive for what Detroit wants, but a Bademosi reunion could make sense.”"
Malcolm Butler is obviously the name to watch here. The player who kicked off his career making a play to secure a Super Bowl title during his rookie season has gone on the be nominated for the Pro Bowl (2015) and placed on the All-Pro second team (2016). Butler also has two Super Bowl rings and the trust of Patricia. The four-year corner has started in every regular season game but one in New England since making that Super Bowl-winning interception back in 2014.
If the New England Patroits actually allow Malcolm Butler to leave in free agency this offseason, joining his defensive coordinator in Detroit seems like a no-brainer.