The Detroit Lions could possibly make the playoffs with these free agent signings.
This is a phrase I haven’t written in years, but the Detroit Lions have a chance to win the NFC North this coming season. With the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings trending in the wrong direction, the Lions and Green Bay Packers could find themselves in a battle for the division crown in the 2020 NFL season.
If Matthew Stafford plays as well as he did in 2019 and Detroit’s rookies make an immediate impact, the Lions could go from worst to first in the NFC North.
However, a few free agent additions could make a significant difference for Detroit. With between $27.5-29.5 million in cap space, the Lions can upgrade their roster.
5. Cameron Wake, EDGE
The Lions tied for the second-fewest sacks in the NFL this past season with 28. Only two players, Trey Flowers and Devon Kennard, registered more than two sacks. Kennard recently signed a three-year, $20 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals, leaving the Lions with only one productive pass rusher from 2019.
Given their current situations, the Lions should rely more on their younger defensive ends, like Julian and Romeo Okwara, in 2020. However, the team could also use a veteran presence capable of mentoring the younger players while also taking a healthy dose of snaps as a contributor. Cameron Wake fits that description.
Wake did finish last season on injured reserve, but he ranked second on the Tennessee Titans with 11 quarterback hits. He reached that total on 195 snaps in nine games while it took Harold Landry 952 snaps in 16 games to reach 14 quarterback hits.
If the Lions pass on Wake, Michael Bennett recorded 6.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hits last year. At 34 years old, Bennett is significantly younger than Wake and doesn’t have a lengthy injury history. Jabaal Sheard could also go to Detroit. The 31-year-old defensive end posted 4.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits with the Colts in 2019.
More expensive pass rushers, including Jadeveon Clowney and Everson Griffen, also remain unsigned.