One of the key ingredients to improving a NFL team is to fill roster holes via free agency.
Last year, Detroit imported several free agents:
- Reggie Bush
- Glover Quin
- Jason Jones
- David Akers
- Israel Idonije
All of those players had clear roles on the team. Some were obviously better examples of prudent spending than others, but that's part of the risk in chasing after players who are left to the open market by their former teams.
In addition, the Lions also added a pair of low-cost free agents who made a surprising impact.
Cornerback Rashean Mathis signed with little fanfare during the preseason for one year at just under $1 million. All the veteran did was wind up with the best pass coverage rating of any Lions cornerback, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Also providing considerable bang for not a lot of bucks was defensive tackle C.J. Mosley. He took over the third tackle role behind Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley and played quite well. His PFF rating was the third-highest of any Detroit defender despite playing less than one-third of the snaps.
There are bargains to be had in free agency. That's good, because the Lions do not figure to have a lot of salary-cap dollars to go shopping with.
MLive's Justin Rogers recently provided an excellent, detailed breakdown of how the Lions can free up some cap room. Still, this is more of a thrift-store free-agency season than an opulent drive down Rodeo Boulevard.
Here are several free agents the Lions should consider who will realistically be affordable for the cap-strapped team.