5 bargain targets for the Detroit Lions in free agency

As the Detroit Lions shape a free agency plan, these five low-cost options look like nice fits.

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3. EDGE Josh Uche

After breaking out with 11.5 sacks in 2022, Uche fell down to just three sacks for the Patriots last season. But a closer look shows he was 18th among edge defenders with at least 200 pass rushing snaps in Pro Football Focus' pass rush productivity metric.

Uche is clearly a pass rusher, and little else. Not having Matthew Judon opposite him for a big chunk of the season hurt him last season, along with knee and ankle injuries that may have limited him beyond the two games he missed (lower snap rate).

Uche has one year of top-end sack production in four seasons with the Patriots, but a closer look at last year for him shows the relative randomness sacks can be. He's young (25), headed for a "prove-it" type deal somewhere and better than anyone the Lions had opposite Aidan Hutchinson off the edge last season.

2. CB Steven Nelson

Pro Football Focus tabbed Nelson as a perfect free agent match for the Lions.

"Detroit deploys a reasonably high amount of man coverage, and Nelson has placed inside the top 20 in man coverage grade in each of the past three seasons. Nelson won’t fix all of their issues alone, but his addition would be a nice starting point."

The 31-year old had a career-high five interceptions (counting the playoffs) last season with the Texans. He played nearly 1,100 snaps over all 17 regular season games, with 12 pass breakups (four interceptions) and a passer rating allowed of just 73.3. He is also a willing tackler in run support, with at least 50 total tackles in five of the last six seasons.

If the Lions don't got all in for a cornerback (L'Jarius Sneed?), Nelson will make a lot of sense. Even if they do add someone like Sneed, signing Nelson would be a worthy follow up to further fortify the cornerback depth chart.