4 free agents the Detroit Lions should easily be willing to let leave

Credit: Cooper Neill/Getty Images
Credit: Cooper Neill/Getty Images /
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Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

3. CB/S Will Harris

Safety, cornerback, a combination of the two, Harris hasn’t been particularly good at either over the course of four seasons with the Lions. He should be commended for embracing a role (the most snaps on the Lions defense–1,012) and seeming to find something a home at cornerback in 2021, and in a broad sense his versatility should have been good for the Lions’ secondary.

But Harris was exposed as a slot corner this year, pressed into duty as he was. In 15 games he allowed a 70.5 percent completion rate and a 106.0 passer rating in his coverage (according to Pro Football Reference) with one interception.

An overhaul of the Lions’ cornerback room this offseason starts here. Harris is the epitome of replaceable.

2. CB Mike Hughes

Hughes played well at times this season, and he stepped into a bigger role when Jeff Okudah struggled late in the season (snap rate of 65 percent or higher four times from Week 12-Week 18).

But he was not impactful enough, with zero interceptions (no turnovers forced at all) and just one pass breakup in 16 games over 563 defensive snaps. His coverage numbers (73.2 percent completion rate; 126.0 passer rating, according to Pro Football Reference) were a step or two worse than Harris’ even.

Hughes could be brought back to Detroit on another one-year deal. But it’ll be better to just let him go, even if it’d be a cheap contract again.