Allen Park — The Detroit Lions need a defensive tackle, maybe two, but the team won’t be filling that need with Haloti Ngata. According to ESPN, the five-team All-Pro is moving on and will be signing a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles once free agency opens Wednesday afternoon.
Ngata was acquired by the Lions in a 2015 trade with the Baltimore Ravens. Initially intended to be a stopgap solution to replace Ndamukong Suh, who had departed in free agency, Ngata wound up signing a two-year extension with the team following his first season in Detroit.
He appeared in 32 games over three seasons, but just five last year after suffering a season-ending elbow injury. Despite that, he continued to serve as a mentor for the Lions’ younger defensive lineman, even traveling to the team’s road games.
Asked about the possibility of brining Ngata back while at the combine last month, general manager Bob Quinn was non-committal.
“We haven’t talked to him yet, so I don’t really have a sense,” Quinn said.
Without Ngata, the Lions have just three interior defensive linemen under contract who played snaps for the team last season — A’Shawn Robinson, Akeem Spence and Jeremiah Ledbetter.
The Lions had a slightly below-average run defense in 2017, ranking 18th in the league, allowing 4.2 yards per carry and 112.5 rushing yards per game.