Marcus Davenport: What the Lions are getting in their free agent DE

USA Today

It’s been no secret that the Lions needed to find improvements at certain positions on defense. Just off the top, cornerback and defensive end have been the most commonly discussed positions for improvement on defense. During the first day of free agency, the Lions jumped right in to find those improvements.

Prior to striking a deal to trade for cornerback Carlton Davis, the Lions signed defensive end Marcus Davenport. The deal is a one-year deal with a base salary of $6.5 million dollars, but it’s an incentive-based deal that can become a max deal worth $10 million dollars.

For Lions fans, you can live with a low-risk move that could pay off big time. Especially if Davenport is able to play and potentially start in 9 games or more. Health will be the key concern with Davenport. Injuries have plagued his career.

Last season, he suffered a high ankle sprain. This placed him on injured reserve and he was only limited to 4 games played. Despite only playing in four games, he was able to record 7 tackles and 2 sacks for the Vikings.

Before signing a one year deal with the Vikings in free agency last year, Davenport was a first round pick to the New Orleans Saints in the 2018 NFL Draft. Through five seasons with the Saints, he played in 62 games and recorded 21.5 sacks. However, injuries limited his growth and ability to stay in New Orleans or land a long-term deal anywhere else.

As Davenport entered his fifth and final season with the Saints, it was announced that he needed five off-season surgeries. Two were on his shoulder, and three were on his left hand. Aaron Glenn and Dan Campbell are familiar with Davenport, as well. After all, they were in New Orleans when the Saints selected him in the first round.

If he can stay on the field, this would be a move that I could see pay off in a big way for the Lions defensive line. With Davenport being 6-foot-5 and 264 pounds, he fits the mold of players they’re searching for at defensive end. He should be able to provide versatility within the Lions defensive line and ultimately, he’s another chess piece for Aaron Glenn to use on defense.

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