The Detroit Lions answered plenty of questions about their future intentions with another strategic offseason, but typically, general managers never stop trying to improve their team no matter what the calendar says.
To that end, May is usually a dead period for NFL signings, but if the Lions wanted to be active to patch some holes on a needy defense for depth, there are plenty of good options still on the board for the team after the NFL draft.
The latest Lions news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lions newsletter here!
Join Heavy on Lions!
What players make the most sense right now for Detroit? Here’s a look at the top veteran free agents the Lions could add to the mix.
Kwon Alexander, Linebacker, New Orleans Saints
A piece that would be familiar to Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn and could offer the Lions some help in the middle, Alexander may not come cheaply, but the Lions might not have any choice but to try and lure him into the mix given their weaknesses at linebacker. Detroit is young and there will be growing pains, but a player like Alexander with 521 tackles and 12 career sacks could help ease those in a big way.
Alexander might be looking for a better situation, but he might not find it anywhere else. Campbell and Glenn could offer him a soft landing, and he could still see plenty of big time snaps on a Lions defense which is desperately trying to improve.
Eddie Goldman, Defensive Tackle, Chicago Bears
What better way to add to the potential pain in Chicago in the 2022 season than by signing a formally productive player that the team just released? Detroit has a youth movement up front going, so this signing could be one that is not likely to play out, but it could be a smart move for Detroit to bring Goldman’s young production into the mix given 175 tackles and 13 career sacks.
Goldman terrorized Detroit in his career to the tune of 14 total tackles, 0.5 sacks and 2 quarterback hits career, so it would be nice to have that production on the other side. He would instantly upgrade a woeful Detroit run defense. As far as a signing that is motivated would go, this could be a home run for the Lions after the release in Chicago.
James Bradberry, Cornerback, New York Giants
A surprise cut, Bradberry is a young depth piece that could be an intriguing fit for the Lions given his age (28) and production in the league, with 380 tackles and 13 interceptions. Bradberry is the kind of player the Lions usually like to gamble on, and while they may not have been a team that wanted to deal an asset for the cornerback, he could make sense now that he is a free agent.
Cornerback remains a hole for the Lions in spite of some of the positives on the roster, and Bradberry would be able to scrap for a big time role from day one. This signing isn’t likely at all for Detroit, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit or line up with the team’s ideal profile.
Anthony Barr, Linebacker, Minnesota Vikings
Barr was said to be a favorite to perhaps sign in Detroit a few years back, but that did not materialize, nor did him leaving for New York. Now, Barr is looking for a job and he could be a good depth piece for the Lions to add at linebacker to help stabilize a young group on the field in 2022. Barr may not fit the scheme, but his production has been solid through the years and is very steady for a younger team like Detroit. He also has plenty of big plays on the highlight ledger:
It’s surprising to see Barr still on the market, but at this stage of his career, he could be looking for the right fit. He might also decide to call it a career, but the Lions should give him a hard look.
Jalyn Holmes, Defensive Line, New Orleans Saints
This is an intriguing name more in line with the type of player Brad Holmes likes to take a chance on. Holmes, a former fourth-round pick, hasn’t gotten much going in his career, but could be a good depth or rotational piece in the right scheme and system. That system could be Detroit with Glenn, and with 57 tackles and 1 sack, there isn’t huge production to rely on. Still, Holmes has an Ohio State pedigree and may be on the radar if Chris Spielman gets a hot tip from his brother that drafted Holmes in Minnesota. An underrated move, but the Lions have been kings of those in free agency lately.
READ NEXT: Major Statistical Expectation Set for Lions’ 2022 Offensive Line