This is an extremely important offseason for Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia as they have reportedly been given an ultimatum to contend for the playoffs in 2020.
That being said, it will all start with free agency, where the Lions will have some important decisions to make. Those decisions will help dictate which direction the Lions go in the 2020 NFL Draft.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Lions will end up signing three of the Top 50 available free agents during the coming offseason, including former Pro Bowl running back, Melvin Gordon III.
In addition to Gordon, the Lions are predicted to bring back EDGE Kyle Van Noy and sign DL Shelby Harris.
Here is what Pro Football Focus has to say about Gordon, Van Noy, and Harris.
39. RB MELVIN GORDON III – DETROIT LIONS
Projected contract: 4 years, $7 million per year ($15 million guaranteed)
Melvin Gordon III killed his value by holding out for a new contract and won’t fetch many bones on the open market because of it. He posted a career-high 89.1 rushing grade in 2018 and averaged 2.1 yards before contact. In 2019, his rushing grade dipped down to 71.7 and his average yards before contact fell to 1.3, which led to a far lower rate of explosive runs generated. Someone will end up paying him, though, and Detroit seems to be a prime candidate to do that. They had a top-10 run-blocking unit but failed to surpass the 25th percentile in team rushing grade as they cycled through multiple backs all season long.
40. EDGE KYLE VAN NOY – DETROIT LIONS
Projected contract: 3 years, $10.5 million per year ($15 million guaranteed)
Like Judge and Flores, Matt Patricia won’t be afraid to pull free agents away from New England, and bringing in Kyle Van Noy is the likeliest route they’d take if they were to snag a player familiar with their scheme. Detroit would cut Devon Kennardto do that since Van Noy plays that exact role (would save then $5.6 million in 2020). Van Noy has played mostly off-ball linebacker in his career but transferred to the edge and recorded a career-high PFF grade that was 16th at his position. Considering Van Noy ranked 50 spots ahead of Kennard in pass-rush grade in 2019, this isn’t a bad move to make.
49. DI SHELBY HARRIS – DETROIT LIONS
Projected contract: 3 years, $5.5 million per year ($7 million guaranteed)
The Lions went from stacked on the interior defensive line to in dire need of help in just one-year’s time. They’ll be hunting for talent there this free agency, and Shelby Harris is the low-risk, high-reward type player who fits the bill. After spending two years with the Raiders in a minimal role back in 2014-15, Harris spent the past three seasons with the Broncos as a solid role player. He recorded an elite 90.4 overall grade in 2018 on limited reps but saw that dip back down 76.8 with an increased workload in 2019. Assuming his projected contract is what he gets, the risk in investing him will be relatively low and worth pursuing.
Nation, do you think it would be wise for the Lions to sign any of these three free agents?