3 free agent pass rushers the Detroit Lions could target after James Houston's injury

The Detroit Lions have lost edge rusher James Houston for an extended time, but there are a few veteran free agents who could provide help.
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The Detroit Lions have struggled to rush the passer the first two weeks of the season, and now an injury will complicate that matter further.

James Houston has reportedly suffered an ankle injury that could keep him out for most of the rest of the season. That will put the Lions in a tough spot having to replace the production of a player who tallied eight sacks as a rookie last year

The Lions have just one sack through two games, and it came from linebacker Alex Anzalone.

With Houston out, the pressure is on others (Aidan Hutchinson, John Cominsky, etc.) to produce. But some help might be nice, whatever the acquisition mode (free agency, trade).

Which free agents could help the Lions fill the void left by Houston? Here's a look at some of the veteran names Detroit could target to help boost their pass rush.

3 free agents the Detroit Lions could target after James Houston's injury

3. DL Akiem Hicks

Hicks is 33 years old, and that's probably the chief reason he's unemployed right now. He's no longer an every-down guy, but he posted a solid overall Pro Football Focus grade (61.9) with one sack and four quarterback hits in a rotational for the Buccaneers last season.

At 6-foot-4 and over 300 pounds, Hicks would offer size, experience and a bit of versatility to whoever his next team is. With 41.5 sacks in his career, and not too far removed from a season where he had more than 20 quarterback pressures and hits (2020), he would give the Lions some pass rush push.

Nobody is pretending Hicks is a long-term answer, but he could certainly offer the Lions a body that has the experience creating havoc up front for contending teams.

2. DT Matt Ioannidis

The Lions need beef on the interior as much as pass rush on the exterior. Ioannidis could offer both elements given he's a versatile lineman. He started his career with Washington in 2016, with seasons where he had 7.5 (2018) and 8.5 sacks (20190.

After signing with the Carolina Panthers in 2022, Ionnidis played in just 13 games and posted one sack. Ioannidis is young at 29 years old, and has plenty left. He has shown the ability to make plays before with three forced fumbles and 212 career tackles.

Ioannidis seems like an easy fit in with Detroit's defensive front. He's big, versatile and is effective as a pass rusher as well against the run. It's weird that is still available, but he would be an interesting addition.