The Detroit Lions are in the market for linebackers, and general manager Brad Holmes reportedly had interest in a former Ram.
With re-signing Alex Anzalone and losing Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes was clearly looking (or should have been looking) to add a linebacker. As the second week of free agency kicked off, the Lions indeed signed former Baltimore Raven Chris Board.
But there’s a strong case the Lions should not be done in the free agent linebacker market, if only to add depth. And apparently before agreeing to terms with Board, another deal was almost done.
For a little Rams flavor, Detroit GM Brad Holmes — Les Snead’s top lieutenant in Los Angeles before taking the Lions’ job — was interested in signing linebacker Cory Littleton, who rose to fame as a do-it-all Ram a few years back. Littleton chose Carolina, which guaranteed $2 million of his $2.6 million deal. But Detroit is in the linebacker market, so don’t be surprised if it fills a spot there soon.”
Should Brad Holmes have gotten a deal done with Corey Littleton?
Littleton spent the last two seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders, who released him in the days leading up to the start of free agency. But he spent his first four seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, coming in as an undrafted free agent in 2016. He started all 16 regular season games in each of his final two seasons as a Ram, with at least 125 total tackles in both. Over the 2018 and 2019 campaigns, he totaled 7.5 sacks, 22 pass breakups and five interceptions as well.
Holmes was the director of college scouting for the Rams from 2013-2020, which of course covered the year Littleton was brought in as an undrafted free agent.
Littleton ultimately signed a one-year, $2.6 million deal ($2 million guaranteed, as noted) with the Carolina Panthers. That should’ve been in the Lions’ price range, even with guaranteeing most of a one-year deal, and for some reason it didn’t get done. Board is an interesting player, and he might prove to be a steal. But while his stock fell with the Raiders, Littleton has had all-around production in the league and would’ve been a nice fit in Detroit.
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If it was a one or the other proposition between Littleton or Board, and it wouldn’t necessarily have had to be based solely on cost, it seems Holmes chose to take a flier over someone he knows well. Time will tell if he was right.