6 degrees of Bob Quinn – Lions may target Patriots Free Agents

A familiarity of a player goes a long way in free agency. Similar to when any one of us look for a new job, knowing someone at the place you are applying for certainly goes a long way in helping to get the job. While it isn’t the only criteria a player is evaluated, it helps when not only trying to evaluate the player but in convincing the player that your team is the right team to choose.

Bob Quinn has had the opportunity to work among some of the best in the league during his time with the Patriots and he has at the very least a working relationship with many of the top Patriot’s free agents that would be a fit in the Honolulu blue and silver.

Check out: 
5 Free Agents the Lions MUST Consider

With NFL Free Agency opening up on Thursday and talks officially opening up today at noon, what do you think Nation? Should Quinn and the Lions make a move on any of Birkett’s suggestions?

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press assembled the following list of free agents that could be a fit:

LB Dont’a Hightower

Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) fumbles as he is hit by New England Patriots middle linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) fumbles as he is hit by New England Patriots middle linebacker Dont’a Hightower (54) during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions have expressed interest in Hightower, whose fourth-quarter strip sack of Matt Ryan helped the Patriots mount a record comeback in Super Bowl LI. With a price tag of more than $12 million, however, he’s expected to be too expensive for the Lions’ tastes.

CB Logan Ryan

Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman (26) runs the ball against New England Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan (26) during the first quarter during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman (26) runs the ball against New England Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan (26) during the first quarter during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

 He won’t cost quite as much as Hightower because he’s not the same caliber playmaker. But he would help the Lions at one of their biggest positions of need. He can play outside or slot cornerback and would join Darius Slay, Nevin Lawson and perhaps a rookie in an upgraded secondary.

 DE Jabaal Sheard

Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Jabaal Sheard (93) defends Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) in the third quarter during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Jabaal Sheard (93) defends Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) in the third quarter during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

Quinn was running the Patriots’ pro personnel department when they signed Sheard as a free agent in 2015. Sheard had 13 sacks the last two seasons and would help the Lions’ depth issues up front. One thing to watch: Sheard’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, also represents the Lions’ top two free agent defensive ends, Devin Taylor and Armonty Bryant.

S Duron Harmon

Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) makes a catch in front of New England Patriots free safety Duron Harmon (30) during the second quarter during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) makes a catch in front of New England Patriots free safety Duron Harmon (30) during the second quarter during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

Harmon is another player in whom the Lions have expressed interest. He can play slot cornerback and safety and won’t cost nearly as much as Ryan. The Lions found a starting safety from New England’s secondary last year in Wilson. Would they add another?

TE Martellus Bennett

Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett (88) catches a pass against Atlanta Falcons strong safety Keanu Neal (22) during the fourth quarter during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett (88) catches a pass against Atlanta Falcons strong safety Keanu Neal (22) during the fourth quarter during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end is one of the Lions’ biggest positions of need, with little experience on the roster behind Eric Ebron. Bennett is the best combo blocking-receiving tight end on the market. Now that he has a championship ring, he can simply pick the most lucrative offer.