The Detroit Lions love to add former Patriots to their roster. Considering Kerryon Johnson’s injury history, does this former Pats’ running back make sense?
The connection between the Detroit Lions and the New England Patriots is well documented. After decades of struggling to win a single playoff game, Lions ownership turned to former Patriots in Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia to bring that winning culture to the Motor City.
Quinn came to Detroit back in 2016 to assume the role of general manager. While Patricia would follow him two years later as the team’s head coach. Two years into this duo’s attempt to make the Lions a winner have had the unfortunate opposite results.
The Lions followed up Patricia’s first season record of 6-10 with an even more humbling 3-12-1 record in 2019. And despite rumblings from the fanbase that thought duo should be fired, ownership stepped in to give them another year. But that second chance came with a caveat. Quinn and Patricia have been tasked with making Detroit a playoff contender in 2020.
To do so, this former New England combo could once again look for ex-Patriots to help them accomplish their monumental task. They certainly have a history of doing so bringing in free agents like defensive end Trey Flowers, wide receiver Danny Amendola, and cornerback Justin Coleman last offseason. All of whom have worn the nautical blue, new century silver, and red before.
Here’s what Albert Breer wrote recently on SI.com about a former Patriots running back who might hit free agency soon as a potential fit in Detroit this year.
"“Titans RB Dion Lewis (cap savings: $4.04 million): The emergence of Derrick Henry marginalized Lewis’ role and made his 2020 cap charge of $5.16 million a non-starter. Lewis turns 30 in September and might have his best chance to latch on with another Patriot-connected coach (Detroit? Giants?).”"
At first glance, the Lions seem to be all set at the running back position. Former second-rounder Kerryon Johnson figures to be the workhorse entering his third season.
Power back Bo Scarbrough was a nice find as a free agent last season and seems to be a perfect complement to Johnson. And both Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic have shown the ability to be playmakers as receivers out of the backfield, although the latter is a restricted free agent this offseason.
Yet, Johnson has suffered back-to-back knee injuries in his first two seasons in Detroit, causing him to miss a combined 14 games in that span. That injury history could open the door for someone like Lewis to walk through as Kerryon has shown to be too fragile to rely on.
As for Lewis, he’s a Super Bowl winner who certainly understands the Patriots’ culture having spent three seasons in New England. His best season came in 2017 when he posted 896 rushing yards and six touchdowns while averaging 5.0 yards per carry. Lewis also recorded 32 receptions for 214 yards and three more scores for the Pats.
Presuming the Tennessee Titans decide to part ways with him, Dion Lewis could certainly find himself a comfortable home in Detroit’s backfield sharing duties with someone like Kerryon Johnson.