The Detroit Lions continue to establish themselves as the New England Patriots Midwest with two more moves to bring more ex-Pats to the Motor City.
With a mandate to transform the Detroit Lions from the bottom of the NFC North standings into a playoff contender in 2020, both head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn continue to dip into the familiar. As both are former members of the New England Patriots, that means bringing ex-Pats to Detroit.
Over the past two seasons, this duo has added several former New England players to their roster. Names like defensive end Trey Flowers, cornerback Justin Coleman, and wide receiver Danny Amendola were all added last offseason via free agency. The season before saw ex-Patriots like running back LeGarrette Blount, quarterback Matt Cassel, and defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois brought to the team in an effort to change the culture in Motown.
With their backs seemingly against the wall after posting two losing seasons together in Detroit, Quinn and Patricia appeared to be doubling down on their philosophy to bring a carbon copy of the Patriots to the Motor City.
On Monday, the Lions agree to sign free agent linebacker Jamie Collins to a three-year, $30 million deal. The 30-year old spent nearly five seasons in New England, four of which with Patricia as his defensive coordinator.
And on Wednesday, the duo of Patricia and Quinn pulled off two more moves to bring a couple of ex-Pats to Detroit. With several of their defensive tackles currently free agents, the Lions needed to find themselves a big interior defender. They would do so in 6-foot-2, 345-pound Danny Shelton.
A first-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Washington, Shelton spent his first three seasons with the Cleveland Browns. His last two years have been with New England. And in 2019, the 26-year old posted a career-high 61 total tackles and 3.0 sacks. According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the Lions have agreed to sign Shelton to a two-year deal worth $8 million.
The next move by the Lions’ brass for a former Patriots’ defender was via a trade. Detroit has reportedly agreed to swap late-round draft selections with New England in exchange for safety Duron Harmon. A third-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Rutgers, the 29-year old has spent his entire seven-year career in New England.
In Detroit, Duron Harmon will likely fill the role left vacant by free-agent safety Tavon Wilson who started 13 games for the Lions last season. Harmon recorded 22 total tackles, five pass defends, and two interceptions as an eight-game starter for the Patriots in 2019.