2019 team/salary: Carolina Panthers / $4 million
2019 stats: 13 games played, 12 starts, 8.5 sacks, 36 tackles, 1 safety
Height/Weight: 6-3 / 250
By far the oldest and most experienced player on this list, Irvin actually recorded a career-high last year for the Carolina Panthers with 8.5 sacks. This, despite missing three games and playing over 80% of the team’s defensive snaps in just two contests all year.
Irvin is almost strictly a situational player at this point in his career and his frame would likely force him to play as a stand-up rusher in the Lions’ defensive scheme, a role currently occupied by veteran Devon Kennard.
Irvin played both standing up and as a down lineman at various points during 2019 in Carolina. Either way, he could offer the Lions some extra juice in the pass-rushing department, an area that needs major improvement this offseason.
Where Irvin falls short is in his run defense, a trait that is highly valued in Lions edge defenders. Irvin’s suspect ability in stopping the run is somewhat symbolic of the Panthers’ struggles against opposing rushing attacks in 2019; only three teams surrendered more yards on the ground last season.
With a new head coach on board in Carolina, Irvin seems unlikely to return to a team that will be undergoing major changes after ending 2019 with eight straight losses. He has played for four teams since 2015 but has been productive with all of them. The Lions could make sense as his next destination, should the price be sensible.