5 realistic free agents the Lions could sign in 2024

The Detroit Lions may or may not make a big splash in free agency, but here are five players they could realistically sign.

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1. CB L'Jarius Sneed

Yep, I'm calling a "big splash" player a realistic free agent signing for the Lions. The defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs could franchise tag Sneed ($19.8 million for 2024) as a place holder for talks about a multi-year deal. But ESPN's Dan Graziano recently pointed to the idea they'll let him test free agency.

“The Chiefs have drafted four cornerbacks in the past two drafts, including 2022 first-rounder Trent McDuffie, who appears more than ready to take over as the No. 1 corner if Sneed leaves. Their draft strategy has been preparing them for the possibility of this happening."

Sneed was good primarily lining up in the slot over his first three seasons for the Chiefs, then he didn't miss a beat with a move to the outside last season. Pro Football Focus had him as their 28th-highest graded cornerback in the league (73.7 overall grade). He allowed a 51.0 percent completion rate and a 56.2 passer rating last season. From a passer rating perspective, opposing quarterbacks weren't much better off throwing in his direction compared to just throwing the ball away.

In the playoffs, Sneed essentially shut down Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, Zay Flowers and Brandon Aiyuk.

Sneed is also a willing run defender (78 tackles this season, 108 tackles in 2022, 76 tackles in 2021), and he has shown he can be a very effective blitzer (3.5 sacks in 2022). More interceptions might be nice, but his 14 pass breakups last season were tied for eighth in the league and he had 11 pass breakups in 2022.

Penalties are a bit of thing with Sneed. But his aggressiveness is something the Lions need at cornerback, and it's easier to reel that kind of edge in than try to give it to someone who doesn't have it. Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and new defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend might be the perfect guys to work with, to refine some technique and not to draw so many flags.

Holmes took a half-measure to sign a No. 1 cornerback last offseason, on the hope Cameron Sutton would take that step. We know how that turned out.

On the assumption Sneed hits the market, there should be no more half measures to add a top-tier cornerback after the Lions fell one game short of the Super Bowl.

Next. 5 potential free agency landing spots for Lions guard Jonah Jackson. 5 potential free agency landing spots for Lions guard Jonah Jackson. dark