Detroit Lions continue to beef up pass rush, sign DE Charles Harris: Report

Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Lions are getting more help for their anemic pass rush.

The Lions agreed to a free agent contract with edge rusher Charles Harris on Thursday, according to ESPN.

A first-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2017, one pick after the Lions took Jarrad Davis, Harris has 6.5 sacks in four seasons with the Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons.

The Lions have focused on upgrading their pass rush in the early part of free agency.

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They re-signed Romeo Okwara to a three-year contract at the start of the free agent negotiating period Monday, and added defensive tackle Michael Brockers in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday.

Okwara led the Lions with a career-high 10 sacks last season, Brockers had five for the Rams, the second-highest total of his career, and Harris had a career-high three sacks in 13 games with the Falcons.

The Lions ranked 27th in sack percentage last season, getting to opposing quarterbacks on 4.3% of their dropbacks.

“The most important position on the field is probably the quarterback position, next to the defensive end, I’d say,” Okwara said Wednesday. “But any chance, any way you’re able to, I guess, affect the quarterback position is a good thing.”

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With their defensive line largely set — Da’Shawn Hand, John Penisini and Nick Williams also return at tackle — the Lions can turn their attention to the back seven on defense and several remaining holes on offense, including wide receiver and backup offensive tackle.

They need a starter at safety to pair with Tracy Walker, but were unwilling to seriously get in the bidding for John Johnson. They also need a starting slot cornerback and at least one linebacker to pair with Jamie Collins in the middle of their defense.

On Thursday, the Lions also cut backup quarterback Chase Daniel, a move that freed up $2.3 million in cap space.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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