Lions Advised to Sign Veteran Edge Rusher Coming Off Career-Best Season

The Detroit Lions found a dynamic edge rusher in Aidan Hutchinson, but have struggled for two seasons to find a consistent pass rusher to complement him.

One outlet suggests that the team could target a veteran who is coming off a career-best season with the Buffalo Bills.

Jared Ramsey of the Detroit Free Press broke down the team’s offseason needs, noting that the Lions struggled in defending the pass and generating consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Ramsey suggested the Lions could target edge rusher Leonard Floyd, who notched double-digit sacks with the Bills in 2023.

Lions Add Experience to Pass Rush

Ramsey noted that the Lions could set their sights on a number of free-agent defensive linemen, including Calais Campbell or Jadaveon Clowney, but pegged Floyd as the top potential addition. He noted that the former Los Angeles Rams pass rusher would not be cheap, but could add a lot of the Detroit defense.

“He will be 32 in September, but produced 10½ sacks this season for the Bills,” Ramsey wrote. “His projected 2024 contract is two years and $16.2 million, for an average of $8.1 million per year, according to Spotrac.”

Floyd has already made it clear that he won’t be giving the Bills a hometown discount, saying after the team’s playoff exit that he plans to take the best offer he can get.

Bills DE Leonard Floyd has been worth every penny. We break down how he was used against the Jets and how he WON.https://t.co/5lhyW0VU2W pic.twitter.com/DRwSASAMli

— Cover 1 (@Cover1) November 24, 2023

“For me I’m always going where the money goes. I’d rather be here, but it is what it is. It’s a business. I’m gonna go wherever my agent feels like we get the most the most money from,” Floyd said, via the Democrat & Chronicle.

Detroit Could Take Another Route

The Lions could also continue to build their pass rush through the draft, as they did with Hutchinson and fellow second-year player James Houston, who showed flashes of star play his rookie season but also struggled with injuries.

Christian Booher of SI.com’s All Lions suggests the team could target UCLA’s Laiatu Latu, who is projected as a late first-round pick. While the Lions may need to move up to secure Latu, Booher suggested in November that he could be a good fit in Detroit after returning from a medical retirement in college following a preseason neck injury in 2020.

“He possesses elite quickness and a knack for getting to the quarterback, along with the ability to a sure-tackling ability that has produced 18.5 tackles for loss this season alone,” Booher wrote, adding, “Concerns about his longevity as it relates to his injury could hurt his draft stock, though his production as of late has seemed to counter those misgivings. He has played in all 23 games possible over the last two seasons, so durability hasn’t been a concern.”

Latu is also determined to prove himself in the NFL after being forced to spend two years away from football while recovering from his neck injury.

“All the while when I wasn’t playing football, I just had the determination and the mind-set that I was going to be able to come back and play football and prove to the world what I could do,” Latu said, via The Associated Press.

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