Such as they may even be interested in adding anyone, a productive and well-traveled veteran edge rusher has been named a fit for the Detroit Lions.
Perhaps based on pure depth, the Detroit Lions may not see great urgency to add to their edge rusher mix. James Houston has a big goal after being an instant force as a rookie, and in terms or experience Romeo Okwara and Charles Harris were kept around this offseason.
But they could look for a proven commodity who was healthy and productive last year. Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently matched the Lions to Yannick Ngakoue, and a few days later his colleague Tyler Sullivan did the same in naming some landing spots for the veteran edge rusher.
Ngakoue is set to play for his sixth team in five seasons in 2023. He recently told SiriusXM he's ready to find a "stable home", and is hoping for a multi-year deal with a contending team.
Ngakoue being so well-traveled lately is not because he has been unproductive. On the contrary, he is one of five players in NFL history to have at least eight sacks in each of his first seven seasons. Last season with the Indianapolis Colts, he had 9.5 sacks.
NFL Free Agency: Is Yannick Ngakoue a fit for the Detroit Lions?
There is no denying what Ngakoue can do getting after the quarterback. But as noted by Heavy.com, Pro Football Focus graded him as a bottom-five run defender among edge rushers who played at least half of his team's snaps last year.
If the Lions need help anywhere, it's probably to try to fortify the run defense more than add a pass rusher.
In his write up matching Ngakoue to the Lions, Benjamin mentioned the "one-trick pony" element.
"Ngakoue’s book has been written as a one-trick pony off the edge, but as a one-year flyer a la C.J. Gardner-Johnson, the big-play upside is there.”"
The Lions probably would not give Ngakoue the multi-year deal he'd like, though there probably aren't many teams who would at this point. The Lions are expected to be a contender, so they would fit that preference for Ngakoue.
If the Lions really wanted Ngakoue, they could have already signed him rather than re-work the contract of at least one of Okwara and Harris to keep them. So the odds they'd sign him now are slim, even if the price was right.