The Detroit Lions hosted reigning CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player Mathieu Betts for a visit back in December. Then last week, Farhan Lalji of TSN reported the strong likelihood Betts would be signed to a futures contract.
On Tuesday, Lalji reported Betts is indeed being signed by the Lions. Since the Super Bowl is in the books, it's a traditional free agent contract rather than a futures deal. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press has confirmed it, and the Lions have announced the signing.
Lions add CFL star Mathieu Betts to help pass rush
Betts, who will turn 29 on March 22, is the reigning CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player. He had a breakout campaign with a league-leading 18 sacks in 18 games for the BC Lions last season, while adding 44 total tackles and four forced fumbles. In 2022, his first season with BC, he had seven sacks. He spent his first two, non-descript (two sacks in 19 games) seasons in the CFL (2019 and 2021) with the Edmonton Eskimos/Elks.
Betts, a Montreal native, participated in the East-West Shrine Game in 2019. He was signed by the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent, and he made it to final roster cuts in late-August before being let go and heading back north.
Betts was the top CFL free agent this offseason. His agent told Birkett he had an offer from one other NFL team, as well as several CFL teams. The BC Lions bid him adieu on Twitter.
At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, Betts profiles as a SAM linebacker like James Houston-who is set to be an exclusive rights free agent but is fairly certain to be back. The Lions need pass rush help, with edge rushers outside of Aidan Hutchinson offering little to nothing this past season.
Charles Harris and Romeo Okwara are unrestricted free agents and all but certain to be gone, while Julian Okwara is also a UFA and more likely to be gone than re-signed. So the edge rusher group is lined up for some turnover, as it should be.
Check out all of Betts' sacks from last season in the clip below.