Last summer, the Lions added Isaiah Buggs as defensive line depth; his play this year has earned him an extended stay in the Motor City. Detroit is re-signing Buggs on a two-year deal worth up to $6MM, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). The team has since confirmed the move. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets that the pact includes $4.5MM in base salary, with $1.5MM in incentives. $2.1MM in compensation is guaranteed at signing.
A former Steelers third-rounder, Buggs operated in a rotational capacity over the course of three seasons in Pittsburgh. His snap share rose every year, reaching 34% in 2021, though he never managed to make as much of an impact on the statsheet as the team would have wished. He was waived last January, and remained on the open market for several months after a brief stint with the Raiders as playoff insurance.
Following workouts with the Vikings and Falcons, Buggs signed in Detroit in an attempt to carve out a more notable role. That was certainly this case this season, as he started 13 of 17 contests and played considerably more snaps (755) than he did across three campaigns with the Steelers. He comfortably set new career highs in several categories, including tackles (46) and QB pressures (11).
That production has led to this new deal, one which will essentially double his career earnings if he is able to maximize its value. Buggs will continue as a key member of the Lions’ defensive line rotation, one which could see the departures of pending free agents John Cominsky and Austin Bryant. Detroit will be seeking significant upgrades on defense this offseason, but by retaining Buggs, they will have a degree of continuity up front in the coming years.