The Detroit Lions secured their sack leader from 2020 earlier this week by inking defensive end Romeo Okwara to a new three-year, $39 million contract. But the Lions didn’t stop there when it came to addressing their pass-rushing needs.
On Thursday, ESPN senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler tweeted that the Lions are signing free-agent defensive end Charles Harris, per an unnamed source. The exact details of the deal are unknown at this time. Harris was a first-round selection by the Miami Dolphins back in 2017.
Unfortunately, Harris didn’t live up to his draft status over his first three seasons with the Dolphins. The touted Missouri pass rusher who posted 9.0 sacks as a junior in 2016 racked up a total of only 3.5 sacks during his three-year run in Miami.
Harris was subsequently traded to the Atlanta Falcons last May for a lowly seventh-round draft pick. The 26-year old had somewhat of a career resurgence with the Falcons, racking up a career-high 3.0 sacks as a rotational rusher who played just 27% of Atlanta’s defensive snaps last season.
In Detroit, Harris will attempt to continue his comeback tour. He’ll do so within a rotation that already includes Romeo Okwara, Trey Flowers, and Romeo’s little brother, Julian Okwara. And the new-look Lions could certainly use the help.
Last season, the defense in the Motor City racked up a total of 24 sacks as a team, which was tied for 26th in the NFL, one of the lowest amounts in the league. Romeo Okwara and Trey Flowers recorded 12.0 of those sacks. In fact, no one player outside of defensive end Everson Griffen (3.5 sacks) even registered more than a single sack for Detroit in 2020.
The new regime in Detroit, which includes general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell, has been relatively quiet during the start of NFL free agency this week. Instead, they’ve chosen to part ways with several players with ties to the previous regime. But the signing of Charles Harris could open the floodgates for similar low-key additions very soon.