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Detroit Lions

Lions Should Make A Statement By Signing This Free Agent In 2023

The Lions need to improve their secondary in 2023. Can they steal away one of Pittsburgh’s best CBs?


The Detroit Lions finished 9-8 in the 2022-23 season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The biggest reason they fell short was their defense. In addition to drafting well in April, the Lions should also go after Steelers free agent cornerback, Cameron Sutton.

Sutton’s 2022 Season

Cameron Suttons’s performance during the 2022 season was enough for Pro Football Focus to rank him the 17th-best available free agent for 2023. He only allowed 411 receiving yards in coverage and he led the Pittsburgh Steelers in passes defensed with 15.

I have a friend who is a Steelers fan and he said that Sutton is a very intelligent player who can play inside and out. The versatility of playing both outside and in the slot would be a huge addition to a Lions’ secondary that was exploited profusely this past season. Additionally, my friend and resident Steelers’ expert said that Sutton was a solid playmaker and was good against the run. Sutton seems to be at minimum a high-end CB2, and the Lions need secondary help badly.

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The Situation

The Lions have a quality corner in Jeff Okudah, but their other CBs were lacking in production. Further, both Mike Hughes and Amani Oruwariye are free agents in 2023, so they will need to bolster this position group anyway. They could look to the NFL draft for rookie talent, but this team is close to contention, in my opinion, and should go for more of a sure thing.

Cameron Sutton is finishing up the second year of a two-year deal with the Steelers and is looking to test the open market. He will most likely be a priority for the Steelers to resign, so it’s not a sure thing he’ll want to leave, but the Lions could make him at least consider a move to Detroit by outbidding his current team. At the moment, they have close to 18 million in cap space, and they should be able to make some moves in free agency.

Why Cornerback?

Every fan and analyst will have different ideas for different teams, and there are arguments for plenty of other players for the Lions to go after. However, you can never have enough depth at cornerback, especially when your defense is in such dire need of improvement.

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Their 2nd-overall pick, Aidan Hutchinson, had a great rookie season and will anchor the Lions’ pass rush for years to come. On the offensive side of the ball, they have a solid offensive line, great playmakers at wide receiver and running back, and a competent quarterback in Jared Goff. Honestly, an improved secondary will, at the bare minimum, get this Lions squad over the hump and into the playoffs. Signing Cameron Sutton would not only accomplish the quest for an improved secondary, but he would also show the league that Detroit is ready to contend.

Other Needs For The Lions?

As I mentioned, there are going to be months of speculation on what the Lions should do in the off-season, and this is only the beginning. Going forward, be sure to check Stadium Rant for all of your off-season needs, as well as mock drafts for the Lions and the other teams in the NFC North.

To give you a preview, here are my top-3 positions of need for the Lions in the 2023 off-season.

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  1. Cornerback. Naturally, I would not have written this article if I didn’t think this was the top priority. The Lions had some playmakers in 2022, but also too many penalties on a secondary that also got burned too often.
  2. EDGE. Aidan Hutchinson looks to be the real deal, but EDGE rushers are essential to a playoff run, and you need depth to be consistently effective. I look for the Lions to bolster that position, and they should make it a priority.
  3. Quarterback. This is not to say I think the Lions should move on from Jared Goff. I think the opposite. I just think this draft has a good crop of rookie QBs, and if the Lions like somebody, they would have the luxury of letting their young guy learn behind a quality veteran. This could be the way they work toward contention without blowing up the team.

Your Thoughts?

As I look to the off-season I would love to hear a variety of opinions. Who do you think the Lions should go after? What are the biggest positions of need?

Let me know on Twitter, @Jlime8, what you think, and I will consider all input when I start doing mock drafts for the Lions, Vikings, and the other teams of the NFC North.

Written By

I am a lifelong Vikings fan who ascribes to the maddening cliche, "There's always next year." As an eternal optimist I fully expect the Vikings to win the Super Bowl each and every year, so that should give you some understanding as to the level of my delusion. This delusion may, at times, sneak into my articles. If that's bothersome, my apologies. I am also a passionate husband, father, and teacher, and I enjoy writing about the Vikings for Stadium Rant!

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