With The Off-Season Underway For The Detroit Lions, It’s Time To Look At Their Upcoming Free Agents.
Welcome to the 2018 off-season for the Detroit Lions. This series will be all about the upcoming free agents that the Lions will have. I will go through and determine whether they should be re-signed, or that the team should rebuild and replace them with someone else.
The first player on the list is the oldest player on the team, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Ngata is a defensive tackle who was traded to the Detroit Lions in 2015 and at age 34, he has been considering retirement since the last off-season. Should he return or should he retire?
Haloti Ngata’s Time In Detroit
Since arriving in Detroit in 2015, Ngata has been the best defensive tackle on the team. He wasn’t like himself when he was in Baltimore, but he still was able to do some damage to opposing offensive lineman and get to the running back or quarterback. Ngata dealt with an injury for the first half of the 2015 season but would turn it around and show why he was worth the money.
The Lions signed Ngata to a two year, $12 million dollar contract back in 2016, and now that the contract is up, Ngata is left with a choice. Keep playing in the NFL, or retire. His stats in Detroit aren’t earthshattering, finishing with 33 tackles, seven pass deflections, and six sacks.
While he didn’t do much on the stat sheet, his presence was enough to help the defensive line make some stops. The team realized how much he helped them this season when he missed the final 11 games with a torn bicep. Opposing offenses were able to run through the Lions defensive line and with him gone, the team suffered.
Re-Sign Or Rebuild?
Even though the defensive line showed how important Ngata was to the team, it is time to rebuild over Ngata. Ngata is turning 34 and with his production dropping since arriving in Detroit, he isn’t the same player he was in Baltimore. He has already thought about retirement and with this torn biceps injury, that may just push him closer to doing it.
Sure, Ngata could sign a team friendly one year deal, but why waste another year on an old vet when you can get a stud in the NFL draft and focus on the future? Three names come to mind when replacing Ngata and they are defensive tackles Maurice Hurst out of Michigan, Vita Vea out of Washington, and Christian Wilkins out of Clemson.
Those are just three of the many talented defensive tackles the team could go after early in the draft, and with the defensive line being the weakest part of the Lions defense, they need to address the issue as quickly as possible. If they want to spend some of their cap space on a free agent, the best possible replacements are Dontari Poe from the Atlanta Falcons and Clinton McDonald from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Overall, Detroit needs to move on from Ngata and focus on their young stars for the future.