The Detroit Lions’ affinity for signing former Patriots should continue this offseason as the team strives to become a playoff contender in 2020.
With former members of the New England Patriots currently at the helm of the Detroit Lions in general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia, the Motor City has become the home of many ex-Patriots.
Just last offseason former Pats like wide receiver Danny Amendola, cornerback Justin Coleman, and defensive end Trey Flowers were all added to the Lions’ roster via free agency. And all three played pivotal roles for Detroit in 2019.
With Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford mandating that Quinn and Patricia make Detroit a playoff contender this upcoming season, the duo will undoubtedly continue to employ ex-Patriots to aid their cause. Here are three of New England’s pending free agents to watch.
Joe Thuney, G
A third-round selection by the Patriots in 2016, guard Joe Thuney has started every single game for New England ever since. He’s started in 64 straight regular-season games and 10 playoff contests.
Posting a career-high grade of 77.4 from Pro Football Focus for his performance in 2019, Thuney figures to cash in big this offseason as an unrestricted free agent and one of the league’s top pass protectors. Now the question is would the Lions value Thuney more than retaining versatile interior lineman Graham Glasgow, who will also be a free agent next month.
Kyle Van Noy, LB
Lions’ fans know the name Kyle Van Noy very well as he was Detroit’s second-round selection back in 2014. But his time in the Motor City only lasted two and a half seasons before he was traded away to the Patriots and the waiting arms of then-New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
With Patricia now the head coach in Motown, would he want to reunite with Van Noy with the 28-year old defender hitting free agency after posting a career-high 6.5 sacks in 2019?
Jamie Collins, LB
A year into Patricia being the Pats’ defensive coordinator, the team drafted linebacker Jamie Collins in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Southern Miss. At 6-foot-3, 255-pound linebacker was the perfect fit for Matty P’s defensive scheme earning him Pro Bowl and All-Pro nominations in 2015, and a Super Bowl ring the season prior.
Collins was traded to the Cleveland Browns in 2016 only to return to the Patriots last season. The 30-year old linebacker started in 15 games for New England recording 81 total tackles plus career highs in sacks (7.0), pass deflections (7), interceptions (3), and the very first defensive touchdown of his seven-year NFL career.