It was absolutely expected, Mike Hughes is now a former Lions cornerback after signing a free agent deal with the Falcons.
The Detroit Lions needed to overturn their cornerback depth chart and their secondary, and they’ve done so by signing Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley and C.J. Gardner-Johnson in free agency. Mike Hughes was as good as gone before those moves, and multiple reports on Monday said he’s headed to the Atlanta Falcons.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported it’ll be a two-year deal for Hughes in Atlanta, and the team confirmed it.
Hughes signed a one-year, $2.25 million deal with the Lions last offseason. He proved to be a solid bargain, starting six of the 16 games he played and playing 563 total snaps. He was versatile, playing the slot and on the outside, as he finished with a career-high 51 tackles.
Hughes finished his one season with the Lions on a high note, platooning with and truly usurping a struggling Jeff Okudah on the outside late in the campaign. Overall though, according to Pro Football Reference, he allowed 41 completions on 56 targets (73.2 percent completion rate) and a 126.2 passer rating in his coverage last season.
Mike Hughes was simply an odd-man out as Lions bolstered their cornerback room
Hughes was certainly ripe to be upgraded on in terms of his overall play as a piece of a very bad Lions’ pass defense last season. When Will Harris was re-signed, along with the bigger aformentioned moves, it became a virtual certainty he’d be signing elsewhere. Sutton has inside-outside versatiity, along with simply being a better player, and the additions of Moseley and another versatile piece in Gardner-Johnson pushed Hughes down the hypothetical depth chart if he had been re-signed.
In Atlanta, as he heads for his fourth team in four seasons, Hughes should find a far better opportunity to play. That they inked him to a two-year deal, pending terms and structure, points to that.