5 edge rushers the Detroit Lions should pursue in free agency

The Detroit Lions need an edge rusher to pair with Aidan Hutchinson, and these 5 free agents could be on their radar.

Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Jonathan Greenard

After a down year where he missed nine games in 2022 (1.5 sacks), Greenard had a breakout in Demeco Ryans' defense last season with 12.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 22 quarterback hits. He had eight sacks in 2021, but he really put it all together last season.

As much as the Lions need the pass rushing juice Greenard offers, that's not all be brings to the table. He had the PFF's eighth-highest run stop rate among qualifying edge defenders (9.3 percent) in 2023, and he was PFF's No. 30 overall edge defender out of those 112 qualifiers.

There may be a little bit of "contract year spike" narrative that's easy to attach to Greenard, but his overall evaluation from PFF sounds like a player the Lions would like.

"Greenard made the absolute most of his contract year under the tutelage of DeMeco Ryans and company, and he's been productive as a pass-rusher and run defender, with his 9.3% run-stop rate ranking eighth among qualifying edge defenders. Greenard wins against the run because of a good first step, strong diagnosing skills and a solid ability to set the edge and avoid getting washed out at the point of attack. As a pass-rusher, while he doesn't have the deepest arsenal of moves, he is a good enough athlete to rack up clean-up and pursuit pressures if teammates chase quarterbacks his way, as he rarely gives up on a rep until the whistle blows."

Greenard won't become among the absolute highest-paid edge rushers with his free agent deal, and it's possible the Texans make a serious effort to keep him. But if he hits the market, Greenard is at a price point and age range (27 in May) that fits the Lions.