The Detroit Lions need more pass rushers along their talented defensive line. And there is one reportedly available that makes sense.
The Detroit Lions appear to be done with defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. Originally the fifth overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft by Detroit, Ansah’s recent time in the Motor City has been plagued by injuries and inconsistent play.
Last season, the Lions used the franchise tag to retain the 29-year old’s services, at a cost of $17.1 million. Ansah responded posting 11 total tackles and 4.0 sacks in seven games due to a shoulder injury. ESPN’s Michael Rothstein recently put the chances of Detroit re-signing their premier pass rusher at a lowly five percent.
The Lions did give their 2018 sack leader, defensive end Romeo Okwara, a new two-year deal recently. A waiver wire claim before the start of last season, Okwara racked up 7.5 sacks in 14 starts for Detroit. But getting to opposing quarterbacks was really a group effort by this Matt Patricia-led defense.
The Lions posted 43.0 sacks as a team last season, that was tied for 11th most in the NFL. And considering the team’s top pass rusher was sidelined for nine games in 2018, that’s impressive. But that doesn’t mean Detroit isn’t in the market to beef up their defensive line.
One name that fans should watch closely is Miami Dolphins’ defensive end Robert Quinn. A former first-round selection out of North Carolina in 2011, Quinn was a sack machine for the St. Louis Rams for many years. His best season coming in 2013 when he recorded a whopping 19.0 sacks.
But the two-time Pro Bowler struggled with injuries during the end of his seven-year run with the Rams. And last March, Quinn was traded to the Dolphins for a fourth rounder and a swap of sixth-round picks. The 28-year old racked up 38 tackles and 6.5 sacks while playing in all 16 games last season.
According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, the Dolphins are trying to trade Quinn. But his massive salary ($12.9 million salary cap hit in 2019) makes it unlikely Miami will find a trade partner and could be forced to release him instead.
If the Detroit Lions do decide to move on from Ezekiel Ansah, a pass rusher like Robert Quinn could be a great replacement. The Lions made a trade with the Miami Dolphins just last year for defensive tackle Akeem Spence. And Miami’s new head coach, Brian Flores, spent the past 15 years with the New England Patriots. So there is clearly a connection between these two organizations.