Would this spoil Matt Patricia’s defensive brew? In truth, I’m not sure it would. The Lions now have a new best player on their defense in the form of Trey Flowers, who also happens to be a huge Patricia supporter. Despite the fact he is not naturally vocal, I think he understands with his new contract that he is very much expected to not only produce on the field but lead off of it.
He will be one of the defenders of the ‘Patricia Way’. Policing the locker room is part of that responsibility. Getting players to ‘buy-in’ and give their all.
This is the part where the more players that do ‘buy-in’ will absolutely make a difference. The kind of difference that can help a team survive the crisis of an unhappy player. Especially a high profile player that is being counted heavily upon.
In the end, I think there are a couple of possibilities at play here. One is that the Lions think they may have found a steal in seventh-round pick defensive tackle P.J. Johnson from Arizona. Johnson is a mountain of a man at 6-foot-3 and 330 pounds while also being extremely athletic. He is also very raw. However, if he is able to learn how to harness his natural gifts, he could very well be the replacement for ‘Snacks’ the Lions will eventually need.
Which would also mean the Lions would be very motivated to keep any extension of ‘Snacks’ on the shorter side. Not that having multiple players that can wreak havoc in the middle of the defense would be a problem, but depending on the numbers Harrison wants, Bob Quinn doesn’t want to tie up too much money in a player that, while still very good now, isn’t getting any younger.
Another possibility is very simple; Harrison doesn’t like the Lions offer and wants to hold out for a better one or a trade. In which case I would expect there would be a trade and A’Shawn Robinson, who improved quite a bit over the course of last season, would step into the starting lineup while Johnson is given a crash course load of work to see if he can play.
So what will happen? We won’t know for sure until it does, but if I were to guess, I would say that both sides will come to a mutual agreement, and even if they don’t, Harrison will continue to be the true professional as he has been over his career and give the Lions his best effort every play.
Unhappy players, especially players that are considered team leaders, as Harrison is after what he brought to the Lions last year, can become a cancer in the locker room. But given Harrison’s history as well as the work Quinn has been able to do in the Lions front office, I would expect a much brighter ending.
The type of ending that could make Matt Patricia and all Lions fans everywhere very happy with this defense.