With the departure of Jalen Reeves-Maybin, the Detroit Lions can pivot and sign one of these five free agent linebackers.
The Detroit Lions linebacking corps was in line for some turnover this offseason, and of their two notable unrestricted free agents they’ve re-signed Alex Anzalone and Jalen Reeves-Maybin is now gone to the Houston Texans.
The linebacker depth chart in Detroit (Anzalone, Derrick Barnes, Josh Woods, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Anthony Pittman) could use a dose of experience, to say nothing of an upgrade in talent. Barnes is in line for a bigger role, and he’s a promising player, but there’s not much upside elsewhere in the current group. Visions of signing former Seahawk Bobby Wagner are not realistic, though until he’s signed never say never there. Myles Jack was easy to tab as a target after he was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he quickly landed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
So looking at realistic free agent linebackers the Lions might actually sign, for depth or starting options, here are five they should target. Signing more than one from this list is certainly within the realm of possibility, financially or otherwise.
5 free agent linebackers the Detroit Lions should have interest in
5. Anthony Barr
Amid questions about a lack of production during his time with the Vikings, former Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer consistently professed how valuable intangibly Barr was in terms of knowing where everyone else needed to be, etc.
Injuries have become a greater factor for Barr the last couple seasons (14 missed games in 2020), but in 11 games last season he was pretty productive (72 total tackles, three interceptions, five pass breakups, 2.5 sacks, 10 quarterback pressures and six quarterback hits).
As a leader and with some ability left even if he’s not a perennial Pro Bowler anymore, the Lions should be interested in keeping Barr in the NFC North.