THURSDAY, 3:37pm: The Lions are set to re-sign linebacker Tahir Whitehead, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a two-year deal worth more than $8MM, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
Whitehead was visiting with the Buccaneers today but, as it turns out, he’ll be staying put in Detroit. The 25-year-old (26 in April) ranked as our top non-rush outside linebacker when we examined 2016’s top defensive free agents over the weekend, though it should be noted that this was a weak crop of non-rush OLBs. In addition to the Bucs, the Eagles also showed interest in plucking Whitehead away from the Lions. Whitehead has said all along that his preference was to remain with the Lions, though he did say that he was focused on being a starter.
“Yes, that’s definitely one of the big factors because as a player in this league you don’t go somewhere or be on someone’s team just to be someone’s backup,” he said. “You want to go somewhere where you’re wanted, where you’re needed and you’re going to play. So I definitely want to be a starter. I think I’ve shown that I can be a starter in this league.”
Whitehead has appeared in all 16 of the Lions’ regular season games in the last three seasons.When Stephen Tulloch went down with a knee injury early in 2014, the Temple product was elevated to the starting lineup and wound up finishing second on the team in tackles. This past season, Whitehead took a backseat to Tulloch in the first half of the season but he started the final eight games and looked strong. In 2015, he started nine of his 16 games, recording 47 total tackles, 1 sack, six pass deflections, and one interception.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.