Best cornerbacks available for Detroit Lions in 2024 free agency

As the "legal tampering" window fast approaches, here are the top free agent cornerbacks available for the Detroit Lions in 2024 free agency.

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The "legal tampering" window for 2024 NFL free agency, at least by league mandate, doesn't start until noon ET on Monday. At that point teams can engage with agent for free agents outside of their own, and deals can be announced. But if we're being realistic, the base for negotiations with free agent targets will be laid before it's "allowed."

For the Detroit Lions, cornerback stands as their No. 1 offseason need. How it's addressed is the question. A big move and some smaller, cheaper pieces? A few signings, but maybe one that sort of stands out? In late February, the week of the NFL Combine, general manager Brad Holmes pointed to free agency to address needs but also said "you can't have enough corners."

The top two options, L'Jarius Sneed and Jaylon Johnson on the free agent market at cornerback were spoken for by franchise tags, and Johnson now has a long-term deal with the Bears. But we know Sneed is available, and the Lions broadly should be (are?) in on him.

Sneed is not an unrestricted free agent, so going beyond him here are the top free agent options at cornerback for the Lions as the "free agency frenzy" approaches.

5. Steven Nelson

The 31-year old Nelson was tabbed as an ideal free agent match for the Lions by Pro Football Focus, and we have him on our list of bargain free agent targets for them.

Nelson allowed passer ratings of 73.3 (2023) and 80.5 (2022) over the last two seasons for the Houston Texans. He is scheme-versatile, as evidenced by two very different schemes in Houston over the last two years as much as anything, and durable (over 900 snaps and at least a 92 percent snap rate in six straight seasons. In three straight seasons, he has registered a top-20 man coverage grade from PFF.

Someone stands to get a bargain in Nelson. It could very well be the Lions.