Aaron Lynch, Edge Rusher
Adding one more veteran pass rusher that can help lighten the load and be a mentor for what is sure to be an early round rookie come April could be an important addition for the team. There are not many pass rushers still left on the market that can provide solid production for a team, and Aaron Lynch is one of those few. While he was not spectacular last year, he was still good enough to warrant a look in free agency and could give the Lions much needed depth at the position.
Last year, while playing on a loaded Chicago Bears’ defense, Lynch played in 13 games (starting three). He totaled three sacks, one interception, one pass defensed, 16 tackles (four for a loss), and an extra eight quarterback hits, displaying that he can apply pressure on a regular basis despite on having three sacks last year.
Lynch would be an above average fourth pass rusher to come off the bench for the Lions and would bring five years of NFL experience with him to share with the rookie edge rusher the Lions will draft. Pro Football Focus (or PFF), which is a site that grades every game for every player in the league, gave Lynch a 2018 grade of 73.6 (which is considered above-average according to their grading scale), and had him ranked as the 28th best edge rusher in the league.
The Lions currently still have around $28 million in cap space left this year. Taking out around $15 million for the draft and in-season moves, the Lions probably have around $13-$15 million left to spend should they choose to do so. Last year, the Bears signed him to a deal worth $4 million, and following a year in which he failed to meet his previous production by about half of the previous year, the Lions could probably sign him for around just $3 million this year.
Signing Lynch would give the Lions quality depth for fairly cheap and allow them even more flexibility in the cap and how they rotate their lineman next year. If the Lions can sign Lynch for less than what he got last year, they should absolutely give him a call.