Lions Rumors

Lions Discuss Trading Back From No. 3

The Lions have talked with other clubs about potentially trading back from the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. The teams that want to move up “have been receptive,” Rapoport writes, so a trade could happen between now and when everyone logs on to the virtual podium.

For months, the Lions have been connected to Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah. The chatter has only increased in recent weeks, following the trade of Darius Slay to the Eagles. Okudah is widely regarded as the top cornerback in the draft and would be a logical fit for Detroit, but the Lions may feel that they can move down the board, get their guy, and add some additional ammo to their stockpile of picks.

The NFL Draft, of course, is completely unpredictable, but it’s fair to say that any team trading up to the third pick would not be chasing Okudah. Instead, any trade up to No. 3 would probably be for a quarterback – if the Bengals select Joe Burrow at No. 1 and the Redskins take Chase Young at No. 2, every other signal caller will be there for the taking. That includes Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa, who has received positive marks on his medical recheck and released promising workout videos.

The Dolphins are believed to have Tagovailoa in their sights. With the No. 5 pick, No. 26 pick, and even more in their arsenal, they’d be a logical candidate to swoop in. The Lions may also choose to wait until April 23rd before making any moves, just in case the Redskins throw everyone for a loop and pass on Young.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Most NFL Teams Haven’t Talked To Chase Young

The entire NFL is convinced that defensive end Chase Young won’t fall past No. 3 overall. In fact, none of the teams picking at No. 4 or lower have reached out to the Ohio State superstar, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears.

[RELATED: Chase Young NFL Draft Prospect Profile]

At this point, it would be shocking if the Bengals did not select LSU Joe Burrow No. 1 overall, followed by the Redskins taking Young at No. 2. Young’s absolute floor would probably be with the Lions at No. 3 overall. The Lions are believed to be targeting fellow Buckeye Jeff Okudah, and would perhaps trade down before trying to nab him, but they wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a potential generational talent in Young.

For what it’s worth, Rapoport also hears that the Redskins have “opened up the possibility” of taking a QB at No. 2. Still, that’d be a stunning move given Young’s potential and the presence of Dwayne Haskins. Recently, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report was told that they are not giving real consideration to a signal caller with the second pick.

According to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus, Young’s performance has been positively off the charts. His 2019 score slotted him ahead of Josh Allen (Kentucky, 2018), Nick Bosa (Ohio State, 2017), Myles Garrett (Texas A&M, 2015), and every other collegiate edge rusher dating back to 2014.

Young tallied 17 sacks in 2019, the most of any player in the FBS, despite serving a two-game ban.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Contract Details: Lions, Seahawks, Vikings, Jets, Broncos

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed NFL deals:

  • Tony McRae, CB (Lions): One year, $1MM. $200K guaranteed. $100K signing bonus (Twitter link via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News).
  • Phillip Dorsett, WR (Seahawks): One year, $1.048MM. $138K guaranteed. Qualifies as veteran minimum salary benefit deal (Twitter link via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com).
  • Ameer Abdullah, RB (Vikings): One year, $910K. $45K signing bonus. $45K roster bonus. Qualifiers as veteran minimum salary benefit deal (Twitter link via Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune).
  • Anthony Zettel, DE (Vikings): One year, $910K. $45K signing bonus. $45K roster bonus. Qualifiers as veteran minimum salary benefit deal (Twitter link via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press).
  • Joseph Jones, LB (Broncos): One year, $825K. No guaranteed money (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9News).
  • Bennett Jackson, DB (Jets): One year, $725K. $100K guaranteed. $50K signing bonus (Twitter link via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com).

Lions To Sign CB Darryl Roberts

The Lions and veteran cornerback Darryl Roberts are in agreement on a one-year contract, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network (Twitter link). Roberts was released by the Jets last week.

After trading Darius Slay to the Eagles, Detroit was in need of an experienced boundary corner. Although the club did sign Desmond Trufant, the second option on the depth chart before the Roberts signing was slot man Justin Coleman.

The Lions have been linked to Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah, one of the most talented defenders in this year’s draft, and adding Roberts will certainly not preclude Detroit from selecting Okudah, who is said to be very high on the team’s draft board. On the other hand, the Lions do have a number of holes to fill and they already own four of the first 85 picks in the draft, so they may now be more amenable to trading down from the No. 3 pick to further stock up on draft capital while still giving themselves the opportunity to draft a player like Derrick Brown.

Roberts, 29, is not one of the league’s best corners, but he does have 56 appearances and 26 career starts to his credit, including back-to-back 10-start seasons in 2018-19. The former seventh-round pick inked a three-year, $18MM deal with the Jets in March 2019, but he graded out as an average-at-best player, per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. So the Jets’ new regime dropped him in order to save $6MM against the books.

In his four years of regular season action, Roberts has accumulated 172 tackles to go along with three interceptions and 27 passes defensed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Lions, Okudah, Foles

The Lions will have a major impact on how the quarterback dominoes fall in this year’s draft. Although they are unlikely to select a rookie signal-caller themselves with the No. 3 overall pick, they have long been rumored as a team that could trade down with another club that has a bigger QB need. And if standout Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young is off the board by the time Detroit is on the clock, Albert Breer of SI.com says the Lions will indeed be open for business, as they could move down to the No. 5 or No. 6 pick and still pick up an elite defender like Jeff OkudahIsaiah Simmons, or Derrick Brown.

However, both Breer and Justin Rogers of the Detroit News believe the Lions’ preference among the non-Young defenders is Okudah, who may be gone if Detroit trades back, and Rogers does not see an immediate fit for Simmons in the club’s defense. So unless the Lions are blown away by an offer, they could stand pat and select one of Young or Okudah.

Now for more from the NFC North:

  • New Bears quarterback Nick Foles restructured his contract after being traded to Chicago from Jacksonville, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com passes along a few more details on the restructure (Twitter link). Foles will earn $8MM in base salary over each of the three remaining years on his contract for a total of $24MM in salary, $21MM of which is guaranteed. Each of those three seasons also comes with an additional $6MM in available incentives, and for every dollar of incentives that Foles earns, his base salary for the following year increases (so if he earns $3MM of incentives in 2020, his salary in 2021 will increase from $8MM to $11MM).
  • As we heard previously, Foles will have the opportunity to void the 2021 or 2022 seasons if he meets certain performance thresholds, so as Rapoport notes in a separate tweet, the former Super Bowl MVP has landed jelly-side up despite a disappointing 2019 season with the Jags. He was paid $30MM for his one year in Jacksonville, keeps the guaranteed money from his Jaguars contract, and has the opportunity to hit free agency as soon as next year if he performs well with the Bears.
  • The Vikings have managed to carve out some salary cap space for themselves this offseason, and after setting aside the funds necessary to sign their 2020 draft class, they have about $8.4MM of space still available, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter). Tomasson says that the team is continuing to look at veteran cornerbacks, which makes sense given the mass CB exodus that Minnesota witnessed last month. Dre Kirkpatrick and Logan Ryan are among the top corners still available.
  • Tomasson adds that the Vikings are still looking into a Dalvin Cook extension, which echoes his report from several weeks ago.

Mutual Extension Between Lions, Golladay

With Golden Tate long gone and Marvin Jones entering the final year of his contract, Kenny Golladay figures to be a high priority for the Lions this offseason. Because Golladay was a third-round pick, his fourth season doubles as a contract year. The Lions would like to extend him, and Golladay has expressed interest in a long-term Detroit stay, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets. However, no extension talks have commenced yet. Despite Matthew Stafford missing much of the season, Golladay established career-high marks in receiving yardage (1,190) and touchdowns (11). With the floor for No. 1 wide receivers being around $16MM per year now, Golladay will not come cheap after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

Lions Sign WR Geronimo Allison

The Lions have agreed to a one-year deal with former Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison, the team announced. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, it will be a one-year, veteran minimum deal of $910K with a $137.5K signing bonus.

That is a far cry from what Allison was probably anticipating this time last year, as he entered the 2019 campaign in line for an expanded role in Green Bay’s receiving corps. He opened 2018 with a bang, catching 19 passes for 289 yards and a score through the first quarter of the year, but a concussion and a core muscle injury limited him to just one game the rest of the way.

Still, the Packers thought enough of his potential — and Allison was generating enough interest from other teams — that the club signed him to a one-year deal last March after initially placing an original-round RFA tender on him. But Green Bay tried to use the 6-3, 202-pounder in the slot in 2019, and that simply didn’t work. He appeared in all 16 games but caught just 34 passes for 287 yards and two TDs.

The division-rival Lions have seen a good deal of Allison over his first four years in the league and apparently like his potential. The top of Detroit’s depth chart is set with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones on the boundaries and Danny Amendola in the slot, but Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com says Allison will likely push Marvin Hall for the No. 4 WR job.

Of course, the Lions could also draft a wideout from a very deep WR class. But Allison is a good low-risk, high-reward addition who became yet another victim of a very tough FA market for receivers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Contract Details: Zuerlein, Poe, Shell, Vikings

We’ve got a bunch of contract details to pass along, all out of the NFC:

Lions Re-Sign OL Oday Aboushi

The Lions have re-signed offensive lineman Oday Aboushi per Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. It’s a one-year deal for the 2013 fifth-rounder.

Assuming he makes the the team, 2020 will offer Aboushi a rare opportunity for geographical stability. In his seven years in the league, he has had stints with the Jets, Texans, Seahawks, Raiders, Cardinals, and Lions.

The UVA product will also have a real chance at starting for Detroit this year after appearing in just seven games (two starts) in 2019. The Lions let right guard Graham Glasgow depart in free agency, and left guard Joe Dahl is coming off a season-ending back injury. 2019 UDFA Beau Benzschawel and swing tackle Tyrell Crosby could also compete for a starting guard gig.

Per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Lions — who generally do not value the guard position — showed interest in free agents like Greg Van Roten before circling back to Aboushi. The 6-5, 315-pounder is not a world beater by any means, but he has started 34 games in his career and doesn’t turn 30 until June.

James Bradberry Chose Giants Over Lions

The Redskins and Jets loomed as known suitors for James Bradberry, but the standout cornerback chose the Giants. But neither the Redskins nor the Jets finished second in this pursuit.

Bradberry said his final decision was a Giants-over-Lions move. Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who drafted Bradberry in the second round when he was with the Panthers, played a role in Bradberry’s choice.

It was either the Lions or New York, and I felt like New York was a better fit for me,” Bradberry said during an appearance on the Jim Rome Show (via the New York Post). “I knew Mr. Gettleman; I know what type of organization he’s trying to build over there. 

“… I feel like both organizations were great; I feel like both coaches were great. I just feel New York might have been a better feel for me. It’s a great city; it’s something new for me.”

It took a three-year, $43.5MM offer for Bradberry to sign with the Giants. The Lions went in a less expensive direction after finishing second here. They instead signed the recently released Desmond Trufant for two years and $20MM.

It appears Bradberry was Detroit’s first choice as their Darius Slay replacement. The Lions subsequently traded Slay to the Eagles. Going with a lucrative Bradberry pact and trading Slay would have been interesting, however, given the Lions’ hesitancy about paying Slay — a three-time Pro Bowler. Bradberry, 26, is two years younger but has yet to be selected to a Pro Bowl.

The Lions have Trufant and slot man Justin Coleman as their top cornerbacks, post-Slay, and have been frequently mentioned as the team that will select Ohio State corner Jeff Okudah in mock drafts. Bradberry will now anchor the Giants’ cornerback corps.