5 2022 free agents with ties to the coaching staff the Detroit Lions could pursue
4. DB P.J. Williams
Williams has become a versatile secondary piece for the New Orleans Saints, transitioning from primarily playing cornerback to lining up everywhere. In praising Will Harris for his embrace of a different role this season, Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn cited his history with Williams.
"Will Harris has a lot of value, as far as a player just in general, because he’s played every position in the back end that you can imagine. I had a guy like this named P.J. Williams with the Saints, and he was just like Will. Actually, he wasn’t as good of an athlete as Will, but the one thing that he was, he was very smart,"
Glenn was the Saints’ defensive backs coach for five seasons before coming to Detroit to be on Dan Campbell’s staff. The Saints may be able to re-sign Williams at a reasonable rate. But the Lions could make a run at him to fill a safety/hybrid spot in the secondary, with Glenn’s full blessing.
3. CB Darious Williams
The Rams gave Williams a first-round tender last offseason, assuring he’d be back. He didn’t have quite as good a season this year as he did in 2020, with zero interceptions and slightly worse coverage metrics in some areas (completion percentage and passer rating allowed). But there’s no doubt the price to keep him has gone up, and Spotrac has given him a raw market value of $14.6 million per year. The Rams will have a hard time re-signing him.
The Lions have health question marks at cornerback. Jeff Okudah and Jerry Jacobs are working their way back from major injuries. Ifeatu Melifonwu missed a lot of his rookie season. Amani Oruwariye had a breakout season in 2021 before a late season-ending injury, and he’ll be in a contract year next season. Williams could fit nicely in the plans for 2022 and beyond.
Aubrey Pleasant’s time as the Rams’ cornerbacks coach overlapped with Williams’ entire time with the team before this year. That familiarity would drive Detroit’s possible pursuit here.