3 free agents the Detroit Lions were wise to avoid in 2024

As the dust settles on the substantial part of free agency, the Detroit Lions look wise to not have signed these three guys.

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1. EDGE Danielle Hunter

There was plenty of easy buzz and predictions out there attaching the Lions to Hunter, as his departure from the division rival Vikings looked inevitable. However driven by the clear need for an edge rusher to pair with Aidan Hutchinson, signing Hunter was also sure to be costly as multiple teams were sure to be interested.

Before free agency, with confirmed buzz out there about them being interested, Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, via the Access Vikings podcast, questioned how genuine the Lions' interest in Hunter was.

How much of that is truthful? How much of that is just a division rival trying to do a smart thing of up a market of a guy they are trying to get the heck out of here?” {The Lions] would obviously want Danielle [Hunter] to either have as many suitors as possible so that he can have a high enough market that either hurts the Vikings’ salary cap situation or just gets him out of there. Which is what you’d want as a division rival.”

Hunter got a two-year, $49 million deal from the Houston Texans that is almost entirely guaranteed ($48 million). Any interest in the Lions had, fully genuine or not, probably played a very small part in pushing up his price point, as he likely had several suitors.

Hunter has played every game the last two seasons, after playing a total of seven games over the 2020 and 2021 seasons, and his high-level production returned in kind. He will turn 30 in October, but it's highly likely the Texans will avoid any serious decline phase on a two-year deal.

But Houston has also allocated a lot of money to Hunter, as they can easily do with a quarterback on a rookie contract. They'll also be hoping he stays as healthy as he has the last two seasons.

By comparison the Lions signed another now-former Vikings edge rusher, Marcus Davenport, on the same (and slightly heightened, based on his history) hope he'll stay healthy. But they did it on a one year deal, and a fraction of Hunter's cost, and they could still add another veteran edge rusher if something make sense among who is still available.

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