5. Jalen Reeves-Maybin (Houston Texans–two years, $7.5 million)
Yep, I’m starting with an internal free agent the Lions didn’t bring back. Anzalone was re-signed to a cheap one-year deal, so it stood to reason Reeves-Maybin was asking for more coming off a season where he stepped into a bigger defensive role after years primarily on special teams.
Rather than risk losing both of their unrestricted free agent inside linebackers who had big roles last season, the Lions took the path of less resistance. They quickly agreed to terms with Anzalone, then waited to see how the chips fell with Reeves-Maybin.
Before last season ended, Reeves-Maybin suggested re-signing with the Lions could work “as long as the math is mathing.” It’s pretty clear Detroit drew a line somewhere, at a number of years or in full hindsight more likely money/guaranteed money, so Reeves-Maybin explored the market past the official start of the league year. Good for him to get the deal he got from the Texans, but the Lions probably don’t really regret losing him with what the price to get him back was.