The Detroit Lions biggest positions of need are at wide receiver and safety, and it will be interesting to see if they go after the second-best safety on the open market. Free safety Jairus Byrd will receive a massive amount of money, and strong safety T.J. Ward is a top five free agent in his own right. Elite free safeties make more money than elite strong safeties, but Ward is also set to break the bank this offseason.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Lions are interested in Ward and believe that they can come up with enough cap space to lure him away. They hope that a new deal with Ndamukong Suh can help them clear some space, but I’m not sure how much they would even save with a deal with Suh (they will likely significantly backload his contract).
Ward recorded 112 tackles and seven passes defended, and his run defense is top-notch in every sense. He’s also very good at covering intermediate routes, and the Lions would likely play him at strong safety and move former corner Glover Quin to free safety, where he should be a better fit anyway.
If the Lions decide to sign Ward, then they could sign a No. 3 WR on the cheap and use their first-round pick on a wideout (this is fully expected anyway, and Odell Beckham Jr. looks like the best fit for them). But it makes more sense to address the WR position completely in the draft if they decide to sign a big-money safety.