Detroit Lions balance sheet: Top 3 losses and gains

Darius Slay, Detroit Lions (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Darius Slay, Detroit Lions (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

We take a glimpse at the Detroit Lions balance sheet for the offseason, both gains and losses.

Coming off a 3-12-1 season-ending record in 2019, you’d figure the Detroit Lions have several changes to both their coaching staff and roster to make in order to bounce back quickly. After all, owner Martha Firestone Ford believes this team is capable of being a playoff contender in 2020.

But as we enter into the month of June, most of those moves have been made. But did the Lions do enough? Here’s a glimpse of three of the team’s top losses and gains from this offseason.

Loss: Darius Slay – Gain: Jeff Okudah

Anytime you trade away a three-time Pro Bowler, it’s going to sting. That’s exactly what happened when the Lions shipped 29-year old cornerback Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles for draft picks. But Detroit decided to use their highest draft selection in a decade to replace him.

The Lions made Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah the third overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. Touted as the highest-rated secondary playing in the entire class, the 21-year old Okudah projects as a Day One starter and Detroit’s new number one corner.

Loss: Devon Kennard – Gain: Jamie Collins

It’s rare when a team chooses to part ways with a player responsible for double-digit sacks over his first two seasons with the franchise. But that’s exactly what happened when the Lions surprisingly released linebacker Devon Kennard in March.

The 28-year old Kennard racked up 14.0 total sacks over his two years in the Motor City. Along with defensive end Trey Flowers, both led the team in quarterback takedowns last season with 7.0 sacks each.

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The day before Kennard’s release, the Lions signed former New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins to a three-year, $30 million contract. The 30-year old is coming off a strong return season with the Pats, racking up 81 tackles, 7.0 sacks, three forced fumbles, three interceptions, and a defensive touchdown.

Knowledge of head coach Matt Patricia’s defense should allow the seven-year veteran to step right into the starting lineup in the spot vacated by Kennard. Collins had his lone Pro Bowl season under Patricia, then the defensive coordinator for New England, back in 2015.

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Loss: Rick Wagner – Gain: Halapoulivaati Vaitai

The Detroit Lions clearly believed they needed to upgrade the entire right side of their offensive line this offseason, parting ways with guard Graham Glasgow and tackle Rick Wagner.

In response, the Lions signed former Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai to a massive five-year, $50 million contract despite the fact the player known as ‘Big V’ started just three games last season and has only 20 starts over his four-year career.