After losing out on Arden Key, these five remaining agents can help the Detroit Lions pass rush.
The Detroit Lions, due in some part to injuries (Romeo Okwara, Trey Flowers), struggled to get after the quarterback in 2021. Re-signing Charles Harris, the potential emergence of Julian Okwara and the potential to take Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux or Travon Walker with the second overall pick in the draft is helpful, but there’s no such thing as having too many guys who can sack the quarterback.
The Lions had defensive lineman Arden Key in for a free agent visit last week, but as he added to his itinerary it seemed less and less likely they’d get him. On Wednesday, Key signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Per general manager Brad Holmes before news of the deal with Jacksonville, via Kyle Meinke of MLive, the Lions were in on Key right to the end.
"We’ll just see where it goes,” Holmes said this week at the NFL owners meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. “We haven’t totally closed the door on that. I’ll say, just with free agency in general, we’re not done. You always want to get it all done that first week, the big headlines, but there’s still some guys out there that we can add still that can help our football team.”"
The last part suggests the Lions have irons in the fire in free agency, perhaps with defensive lineman, edge rushers, etc. With that, here are five remaining free agents they could sign to help the pass rush. And no, Jadeveon Clowney is not a realistic option along with a few others who remain available.
5 remaining free agents the Detroit Lions could sign to help their pass rush
5. DE/Edge Jerry Hughes
2021 Team: Buffalo Bills
Hughes will turn 34 in August, and he has become a part-time player (52 percent of the snaps for the Buffalo Bills in 2021). But he seems to have something left in the tank, with 26 quarterback pressures last season and 25 pressures in 2020.
From a depth and leadership perspective, Hughes would be a nice fit for a lot of teams in these secondary waves of free agency. The Lions can sell the culture they’re building to a well-respected veteran.