Lions solidify two positions on first day of free agency, holes to fill

Marvin Jones was the best possible available for a Lions team that lost top receiver Calvin Johnson to retirement. AP Photo/Ron Schwane

Bob Quinn was busy in his first day running a franchise during free agency.

The Detroit Lions agreed to a deal with the top receiver in the class, Marvin Jones, to help lessen the loss of Calvin Johnson to retirement. They re-signed Haloti Ngata, the team's top defensive tackle last season, to a two-year deal. And he brought in a depth safety he's familiar with from New England, Tavon Wilson.

So it was somewhat productive for Detroit, especially considering the Lions' need to bolster the middle of their roster and fill a decent amount of starting holes.


Marvin Jones: Much like the Lions had to do last year after losing Ndamukong Suh to free agency, the franchise needed to find a playmaker to help replace some of the production and attention Johnson would bring. Jones was the best possible option in free agency and should slide into a co-No. 1 receiving role with Golden Tate. He's not going to be expected to replace Johnson's production or close to it -- that's likely an unreasonable request -- but he has the talent to be a difference-maker for Detroit. It was a smart signing for the Lions. The news story on that and an initial reaction.

Haloti Ngata: Conversations between the Lions and Ngata's representatives had been going on for a while, so this was not an unexpected move. Ngata didn't have a great season in 2015, including a career-low 24 tackles, but he improved as the year went on. He should be more comfortable in Teryl Austin's defense in his second season and should be able to offer mentorship to whomever else the Lions bring in at tackle through the draft. Still expect them to address the position. The news story on Ngata's return and an initial reaction.

Tavon Wilson: If the Lions are bringing him in to be the starter at strong safety, they could be in trouble considering he was a deep depth safety in New England last season. Quinn is familiar with him, but he's likely ticketed for a backup strong safety role with some special teams work. He's likely going to be in a competition with Isaiah Johnson and Don Carey for a roster spot as it is currently constructed. Figure the Lions to continue being active in the safety market. Story on Wilson's expected signing.


Isa Abdul-Quddus: The starter at strong safety for Detroit the second half of the 2015 season, Abdul-Quddus is headed to Miami and has agreed to a deal with the Dolphins according to ESPN Insider Adam Caplan. Considering how fast a lot of the top safeties in the market agreed to deals elsewhere, Abdul-Quddus could have been in play for the Lions. They likely weren't going to pay him the $4.25 million per year that Ian Rapoport from NFL Network is reporting his deal is worth. He was a valuable player for Detroit, first on special teams and in sub-packages and then as the full-fledged starter the second half of the year.

Travis Lewis: The linebacker agreed to terms with Minnesota according to FOX Sports, but his departure is not unexpected. He is a good special teams player, but the Lions have Brandon Copeland under contract and signed Jerry Franklin earlier this year. Between the two of them, they can fill his spot as a depth linebacker and special teams player. Figure the Lions will draft at least one linebacker as well.