2016 Detroit Lions Free Agent Tracker/Breakdown

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Your up-to-the minute Free Agent Tracker

Welcome to the 2016 NFL season! Free agency has kicked off today and deals are getting done as we speak. Here I will be announcing and breaking down each of the free agent signings, plus posting news about any Lions possibly leaving the team. Check back here for updates.

Marvin Jones signs with the Lions

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Marvin Jones will reportedly sign a 5 year contract for $40 million, 8 per year with $20 million in guarantees, and $8 million in signing bonus.  Jones was the number one free agent wide receiver in this free agent class, and helps Detroit’s receiving core with Calvin Johnson retiring yesterday. Jones played in three seasons in Cincinnati, missing the entire 2014 season with an ankle injury. Jones ended with 134 catches for 1,729 yards and 15 touchdowns in his tenure with the Bengals. He was formerly the number three receiver in Cincy, before impressing the coaches and basically taking over the number two role over Mohamed Sanu. Jones brings height at 6’2″ and some believe he could be the number one receiver over Golden Tate.

Haloti Ngata re-signs with the Lions

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Haloti Ngata has decided to come back to the Detroit Lions on a 2 year contract for $12 million, six of it guaranteed.  Ngata had 25 tackles, two and a half sacks and three pass deflections last season. Ngata was thinking about either retiring or coming back to the Lions and once he announced he would return to the NFL, Detroit was the only place he wanted to be. Ngata gives Detroit some more help on the defensive tackle position, but still look for them to take one in the draft and maybe sign another in free agency.

Travis Lewis leaves Detroit for Minnesota.

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Travis Lewis, a backup linebacker and special team player has left the Lions and signed with the Vikings. He finished with 21 tackles and one sack last season. Detroit needs a linebacker and now with Lewis leaving, the need is even bigger at the position.

Tavon Wilson signs with Detroit.

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Tavon Wilson has left the Patriots to come join the Lions on a two year deal for $2.2 million. Wilson only played nine games last season with eight tackles and one pass deflection. Wilson was a backup in New England and he could fill that same role in Detroit. Detroit needed a safety after releasing James Ihedigbo and no word on re-signing IAQ, Detroit needed a guy to fill that spot.

Isa Abdul-Quddus leaves Detroit and signs with the Dolphins

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IAQ has left Detroit, and many fans are sad with the departure. After taking over the starting safety position from James Ihedigbo, IAQ looked well as a starter  with six pass deflections, a forced fumble, and 40 tackles. Lions fans hoped to bring him back and make him our starter, but the Dolphins snagged him for a three year deal. Detroit will have to continue to look in free agency for a starting safety or the draft could be the time for that.

Tahir Whitehead re-signs with Detroit

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Tahir Whitehead has decided to come back to Detroit on a two year contract, paying him more than $8 million. He was drawing interest from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and visited with them today, but ended up coming back to Detroit. Whitehead started at MLB and at times OLB in 2014 where he did a great job with Tulloch down. He had two interceptions, five pass deflections with 91 tackles. In 2015, he saw his role reduced, only starting in nine games compared to 15 in 2014, but the production was still there with 47 tackles, an interception and six pass deflections. Detroit needed him to re-sign badly with Tulloch getting cut, and Travis Lewis leaving. Detroit was thin on linebackers and bringing him back helps fill a need that is still looking for help, whether that is the draft or another free agent, who knows.

Johnson Bademosi signs with Detroit

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Johnson Bademosi has signed a two year deal with the Lions for $4.5 million and a bonus that could end up making it $6 million. He is a safety from Cleveland that is known to be a good special teams player. Tavon Wilson was also noted for special teams, but one of these guys could possibly start at the position. Last season he had 27 tackles, a fumble recovery and two pass deflections. Look for him to compete with Wilson on who will start at safety, while the other one will still contribute and do well on special teams.

Lions sign Stefan Charles

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Stefan Charles has signed a one year deal with the Detroit Lions. It is another defensive tackle on the team, nobody that will start, with only getting one start last season and a total of 13 tackles and a forced fumble. This man will not start, but he is a good guy to get at depth. Detroit may still look at a defensive tackle in the first round of the draft.

Lions re-sign Crezdon Butler

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Butler is back with Detroit after being with the team for half the season last year. Butler only had three tackles all season, but his most notable game was at Green Bay where he stuck his hand to knock the ball away from Davante Adams, helping Detroit end its long 24 year losing streak at Lambeau Field.

Don Muhlbach re-signs with Detroit

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The longtime long-snapper for Detroit has returned! Free agent Don Muhlbach is back with Detroit for his 13th season with the team. He is known as one of the best long-snappers in the NFL and Detroit fans should be glad he is back for another round.

Dan Orlovsky re-signs with Detroit

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Free agent “Safety Dan” Orlovsky has decided to come back to Detroit. This helps Detroit’s need in a backup quarterback, and last season he threw for 201 yards for a touchdown and an interception in three appearances. Detroit should still look into drafting a quarterback this season, but maybe take one further in the draft than originally planned, or they may just stick to two quarterbacks like they did last season.

Lions sign a deal with Rafael Bush

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Detroit has signed free agent Rafael Bush to a “prove it” contract for one year, $2.4 million. Bush was on IR after week one last year, and gives Detroit another safety, giving it depth with three signings since Wednesday. Bush had his best year in 2014, with 56 tackles and two pass deflections while only playing in 10 games. He hasn’t played a full season since 2012, with injuries each year since, Bush is willing to prove he can still play at a high level. He’s going to have some competition to be the starter though, so be sure to watch for that this upcoming training camp and pre season.

Tim Wright re-signs with Detroit

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Tim Wright has re-signed with Detroit today. Last year he played in nine games, ending with nine catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns. He was the number three tight end behind Eric Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew. Wright has went from a starter in Tampa, to a backup/role player in New England to a third string in Detroit. He is a good receiving tight end, but blocking isn’t his strong suit, look at the Denver game last season. Wright saves Detroit a possible draft pick or signing a weaker player in free agency.

Brandon can be found on Reddit, at /u/sportsguy4life, on twitter @BKnappBlogs…come and join the discussion in our Reddit community!

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp
Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for myfantasysportstalk.com and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.