Top free agent safety expected to ‘draw interest’ from Detroit Lions

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UPDATE:

With Marcus Williams being franchised by the New Orleans Saints, John Johnson of the Los Angeles Rams is now one of the top free-agent safeties on the market, and according to some rumors floating around, the Detroit Lions are expected to be interested.

 

PREVIOUS REPORT from 2/25/21

The Detroit Lions are in a sticky situation when it comes to the salary cap. In fact, much of the league is in the same boat as COVID has caused the salary cap to be much lower than teams expected prior to the pandemic hitting.

Because of that, free agency is going to be very interesting in 2021 for the Lions not only because they are limited in terms of cap space but because they are starting a rebuild (or as Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell call it, a retool).

Personally, I don’t think the Lions will spend big in free agency at all in 2021 as both Homes and Campbell (and Chris Spielman) have made it clear that they believe in constructing a roster via the NFL Draft and then adding free-agent pieces as they see fit.

But Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press thinks that IF the Lions are to ‘splurge’ at all in free agency, it may be on a safety.

In a piece recently published in the Detroit Free Press, Birkett took a look at free agents with ties to the Lions’ new regime and he mentioned a pair of safeties that we at DSN have previously mentioned as possibilities for the Lions. Those safeties are Marcus Williams (Saints) and John Johnson (Rams).

Here is what Birkett had to say about Williams and Johnson.

S Marcus Williams, Saints and S John Johnson, Rams

The Lions are not expected to be big spenders in free agency, but one position it might make sense to splurge on is safety, where Williams and Johnson are two of the top players on the market. Both have strong ties to the new Lions regime.

Williams has 13 interceptions in four seasons as a starter and is widely considered one of the best coverage safeties in the NFL. He spent the past four years learning under Glenn and would be an immediate upgrade in a secondary where three starting spots seem spoken for (Amani Oruwariye, Jeff Okudah and Tracy Walker).

Johnson, who played for Pleasant and whose selection was heavily influenced by Holmes, should cost a tick less than Williams and would provide the same pick-me-up to the secondary. He missed 10 games in 2019 with injury, but was a second-team All-Pro selection by Pro Football Focus last season.

I would absolutely LOVE to have either Marcus Williams or John Johnson on my roster, there is no question about that. The question is, at what cost does it make sense to bring either of them in?