After a disappointing first season, Matt Patricia is wasting no time turning his ship around. He and GM Bob Quinn had an extremely active opening to free agency, reaching verbal agreements with four different players when the legal tampering period opened up on Monday.
- Former Patriot and Dolphin Danny Amendola signed with the Lions on a one year deal reportedly worth up to $5.75 million. (ESPN)
- Former Patriot and Seahawk Justin Coleman signed a four-year, $36 million dollar deal with Detroit. This makes him the highest paid nickel cornerback in the NFL. He had 19 passes defended and three interceptions over the previous two seasons. (NFL Network)
- Patriots defensive standout Trey Flowers is reportedly set to sign a five-year deal with the Lions worth around $16-17 million per season. With a number of other star players franchised, Flowers was widely considered the best edge defender in free agency. (NFL Network)
- Detroit has also reportedly signed Steeler tight end Jesse James. This provides the Lions with a young upgrade at a position in serious need of help.
None of these moves are going to make the Lions an immediate Super Bowl contender. However, they are filling holes that will help Patricia have a more stable roster heading into his second season as head coach. Coleman has become a solid nickel corner who provides Detroit with versatility. Flowers is a diverse player who Patricia knows very well. He may not provide double-digit sacks, but he will allow Patricia to expand his defensive playbook. Amendola is not in his prime, but he will provide Matthew Stafford with a tough, reliable target. In addition, James could provide a burst of youth at tight end that the Lions haven't seen since Eric Ebron.
Detroit still has a ways to go. But moves like these, combined with solid draft position with the eighth overall pick, could put them in contention this year. The NFC North could be theirs for the taking, with a dazed Green Bay organization and a Vikings team that may be hamstrung by Kirk Cousins again. There may finally be some life in the Motor City.