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Detroit Lions free agency: Expiring contracts at linebacker

Believe it or not, linebacker is a sizable issue for the Detroit Lions in 2019. How will they go about addressing it this offseason?

This offseason, there are no big names scheduled to hit the free agent market at linebacker for the Detroit Lions. But that doesn’t mean these defenders shouldn’t be re-signed.

Detroit must make the necessary improvements this franchise needs as there are still questions about the starting linebackers as well as their backups. I have a good feeling about one of them for certain. Let’s dive into the Lions’ expiring contracts at linebacker.

Steve Longa

I was really looking forward to seeing Longa in this system prior to a season-ending knee injury. It’s not too late for the Lions to get a look.

A stud special teamer by trade, there were expectations he would emerge as a big contributor on defense. His strong tackling ability and quick mental/physical processing skills earned him first team reps. Middle and weak-side linebacker are his best spots.

Versatility to play multiple spots gives me belief he’s likely to return, especially when he’s an exclusive rights free agent. That simply means no other team can negotiate with him during free agency if Detroit chooses to designate him with the tender. It wouldn’t cost much either.

Kelvin Sheppard

Typically very useful wherever he goes, Sheppard didn’t do much in Detroit. Re-signing to compete in camp is the furthest I’d go with him.

The Lions need to strengthen the linebacking core. His experience as a starter bodes well for his chances to battle it out in the offseason/preseason to earn a roster spot.

Next: 6 free agents the Lions should re-sign in 2019

Conclusion

Outside of another addition or two, I’m comfortable with how the Detroit Lions have their linebacker room set up. Early draft pick, splash free agent signing, however they do it, I’m in favor of this team improvising.

How things shake out will determine the best course of action. I’m all-in for whatever happens.

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