As the Detroit Lions consider remaking their linebacking corps this offseason, here are five potential free agent replacements for Alex Anzalone.
A few bad games skew the numbers a bit, but the Detroit Lions were bad against the run in 2021 (135.1 yards per game, 28th). Linebacker Alex Anzalone was nearly an every snap player for the first 12 games before injuries hit, and he finishes with 78 total tackles in 14 games.
Anzalone was also given the second-worst grade on the entire Lions team by Pro Football Focus. Pro Football Reference credited him with 15 missed tackles and a 16.1 percent missed tackle rate (roughly a missed tackle every six attempts).
As much as a social media post can be taken out of context, Anzalone did seem to hint at his looming departure from the Lions in free agency a little over a month ago. Maybe he’s been told something. But it’s also safe to assume the team will pursue an upgrade over him in a starting inside linebacker spot, and shouldn’t have too hard a time finding one.
On that note, here are five possilble free agent replacements for Anzalone.
Detroit Lions: 5 potential free agent replacements for LB Alex Anzalone
5. De’Vondre Campbell
Campbell is coming off a great year with the Green Bay Packers (second-highest graded linebacker in the league by Pro Football Focus), who will have a hard time keeping him in the fold based on their cap situation. He has topped 125 total tackles in two of the last three seasons now, and has proven to be a sure tackler. He also allowed just a 74.9 passer rating in his coverage in 2021.
Campbell’s projected contract numbers (via PFF and Spotrac) aren’t exorbitant, per se. So why is he not higher on this list? There will be plenty of competition for his services, and the Lions may want to spread their cap space out better to address needs across the roster. But he is getting some buzz as a free agent target for Detroit, so a run at him can’t be ruled out.