Evaluating The Lions Free Agency Haul
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The Detroit Lions were expected to be active once the tampering period began, and they did not disappoint. Detroit began by signing slot receiver Danny Amendola to a one-year, $4.5M deal. From there, general manager Bob Quinn signed CB Justin Coleman, DE Trey Flowers, TE Jesse James, and G Oday Aboushi. The dust is beginning to settle, so let’s take a look at what the Lions are getting out of this group of free agents.
Danny Amendola (one-year, $4.5M)
The Lions addressed their need for a slot receiver rather quickly. Amendola comes over after spending a year with the Miami Dolphins. Amendola caught 59 passes for 575 yards and a touchdown last season. Amendola has ties to both Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia, as Amendola spent 5 years with them in the New England Patriots organization.
Amendola is a great locker room add, but this feels like contract handed out by a former Patriot to a former Patriot. Call this a hot take, but Bruce Ellington would’ve given you the same production and would have cost less. Regardless, Amendola has proven to be reliable in the pass, and he started more than 8 games for the first time in his career in 2018.
Justin Coleman (4-years, $36M)
The Lions then turned their attention to another former Patriot, this time in nickel corner Justin Coleman. Coleman was a major grab for the Seattle Seahawks, who only paid a 7th-round pick in a trade for Coleman. He proved to be the top nickel corner in this free agency class, and will be the top paid nickel corner once the contract becomes official.
Detroit certainly overpaid for Coleman’s services, but the AAV says a lot. Coleman will likely never leave the field on defense. He will either play outside some times or be hidden by the safeties. In addition, the Lions are confident that Coleman can fill the role they have in mind for him. While this deal is an overpay, Coleman is a great talent and addition to the team.
Trey Flowers (5-years, $90M)
The biggest need the Lions had was on the defensive edge, and they addressed it in a massive way. The team will reportedly sign defensive end Trey Flowers to a five-year, $90M contract. Flowers was one of the premier free agents available, and will reunite with his former defensive coordinator in Matt Patricia.
One thing about Flowers that isn’t really talked about is his versatility. Flowers can play both on the edge and on the interior. If the Lions go to a 4-3 front at any point, we could see a defensive line of Flowers, A’Shawn Robsinson, Damon Harrison, and Da’Shawn Hand. While it may not be the best in the league, it will definitely be the best the Lions have had in a long time. Flowers will not get the sack numbers that justify a $90M payday, but he will still be a force to be reckoned with.
Jesse James (4-years, $25M)
The Lions had a glaring need at tight end, as Levine Toliolo and Luke Willson became free agents. In result, Detroit decided to shop at the top of the tight end market and reel in the 24-year-old Jesse James. He was considered one of the best all around options due to his youth and blocking ability.
This seems to be a bit of an overpay, but you can’t hate it. James has a lot of room to grow into an even better player. He currently stands to be the starter, ahead of Michael Roberts and Jerome Cunningham on the depth chart. I doubt this would change whether the Lions draft a tight end in the middle rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft. However, the starting job is James’ to lose in Detroit.
Oday Aboushi (one-year, $2M)
The last of the Lions early free agency shopping spree is a bit of an under-the-radar move. Journeyman G Oday Aboushi will reportedly sign a one-year deal in Detroit. Aboushi spent 2018 with the Arizona Cardinals, and has previously spent time with the Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, and New York Jets.
Aboushi has ties to new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, as he started 8 games for him in 2017 with Seattle. Aboushi quietly enjoyed a nice season last year in Arizona. On the league’s worst team (record wise), Aboushi started 6 games, and was named the Cardinals breakout player of the year by Pro Football Focus. From Week 10 to Week 17, he was a top 20 pass blocker among all eligible offensive lineman with a grade of 77.8. While he likely won’t be a world beater, this move brings in quality depth at the guard position with the departure of T.J. Lang.
Featured Photo Credit: Carlos Osorio/AP
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