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Lions seen as ideal fit for free-agent DB Tyrann Mathieu

The Detroit News
Tyrann Mathieu

Pro Football Focus thinks the next stop for the Honey Badger should be Detroit.

Tyrann Mathieu, 26, is a free-agent defensive back and PFF says the Lions’ secondary would be an ideal landing spot.

PFF identified one free agent as a good fit for each NFL team (via ESPN, pay site), after considering cap space, positional needs and potential scheme fits.

PFF: “It's no secret the Lions' secondary has struggled. After all, it's a unit that allowed Teez Tabor to play 176 snaps in coverage before pulling him from the lineup. Tabor finished the season having allowed a perfect passer rating into his coverage as well as 22 receptions on only 28 targets for 371 yards and four touchdowns. The problems weren't confined to Tabor, as the highest-graded full-time player in the secondary was Darius Slay (the No. 23 CB), while their highest-graded safety, Quandre Diggs, was just the No. 35-rated player at the position.

“Mathieu has a lot of football left in him and has been an ironman over the past two seasons. He has had plus grades in every season of his career and played over 1,000 snaps in the secondary in the past two. That kind of longevity, as well as his playmaking presence, would go a long way in Detroit.”

After five years in Arizona, Mathieu played for Houston last season on a one-year deal for $7 million. He started all 16 games for the Texans and had 89 tackles and two interceptions.

In 82 career NFL games, Mathieu has started 73. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2015.

If the Lions were interested in pursuing Mathieu, it might be tough for them to pull him out of Houston. The Texans have $78 million in salary-cap space, and coach Bill O’Brien would like to see Mathieu return.

"He's a guy who meant a lot to our locker room," O'Brien said of Mathieu to the Houston Chronicle. "He's a good football player. He's a smart football player. He's a versatile player, but also what he meant leadership-wise in the locker room. There's no doubt we would love to have Tyrann back."