5 free agents who could follow Terrell Williams to the Detroit Lions

Terrell Williams is set to become the Detroit Lions defensive line coach, and these free agents could follow him over from Tennessee.

Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA
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1. DE Denico Autry

Among players who have a strong tie to Williams as he prepares to leave the Titans, it's fair to assume no one has a deeper tie than Autry. His rookie year with the Oakland Raiders in 2014 was Williams' last as the defensive line coach there, then Autry signed with Tennessee in 2021.

In those three seasons back with Williams in Tennessee, Autry has posted nine, eight and 11.5 sacks, with 10, eight and 12 tackles for loss in those respective campaigns. Those 11.5 sacks this season are his career high.

Back in December, Autry said he was open to re-signing with the Titans. But that was before they fired Mike Vrabel, and with a new head coach coming in Williams probably started seeking other options knowing it was not guaranteed he'd be retained. Things have changed, so Autry's desire to stay may have too. His connection to Williams could put the Lions on his radar.

As it's easy to gather based on the mention of his career, age is a notable thing with Autry. He will turn 34 in July. But as Pro Football Focus said, he remains "one of the best 5-technique defensive ends in the game", with brute power, sneaky movement ability and the savvy of a wily veteran to consistently get around the quarterback.

The cost to sign Autry will not be prohibitive, as he's likely in line for a one-year deal in free agency. But he looks like a great fit for the Lions, who need to add to their defensive line, and Williams will presumably be a huge advocate on both sides to foster the move.

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