2019 team / Salary: Atlanta Falcons / $12.8 million
2019 Stats: 16 games played, 15 starts, 8.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 28 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss
Height/Weight: 6-3 / 246
Alright Lions fans, before you hurl your device across the room or close this tab in a fit of angry disapproval, hear us out. There’s more here than what may seem like a fruitless idea.
Yes, it’s true that Beasley has been a disappointment for the Atlanta Falcons over the last three seasons, registering just 18.0 sacks in that time after leading the NFL with 15.5 takedowns in 2016. He’ll be searching for a new home in 2019, with the Falcons electing to move on from the former first-round draft selection, as reported by ESPN earlier this month.
What kept Beasley from getting anywhere near the impressive numbers from his sophomore season in recent years is a mystery. Injuries all across Atlanta’s defense, head coach Dan Quinn taking over the defensive coordinator duties and one of the league’s worst overall pass-rushing units over the last few seasons all may have contributed to his stagnation.
Still, Beasley managed to finish 2019 strongly, notching 6.5 sacks over the Falcons’ last eight contests, giving him some momentum entering free agency. If the Lions show some interest, what would he bring to Detroit?
His frame is similar to that of Kennard, meaning he likely wouldn’t be promised a starter’s share of snaps right off the bat. Still, the Lions like to move their second level players close to the line of scrimmage frequently, and having two of them on the field simultaneously could be advantageous. Kennard is also a superior run defender compared to Beasley, so the two could form an intriguing situational tandem.
As with most free agents, the deciding factor could be money. Beasley’s average production since his breakout 2016 season has likely lowered his price significantly, but pass rushers of any notoriety tend to get hefty contract offers. Should his market not materialize to his liking, could he and the Lions find some common ground on an incentive-laden, short-term prove-it deal?