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Detroit Lions sign QB Chase Daniel, LB Jamie Collins, OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai, DT Nick Williams in free agency opening

Chase Daniel
Chase Daniel is now a member of the Detroit Lions, after the team made four signings during the 2020 NFL tampering period. NFL/YouTube

The Detroit Lions, like many NFL teams, have not waited until the official March 18 opening of free agency to make some additions to their 2020 roster.

So far they have added four players that can be difference-makers in the upcoming season. Let’s break them down, grade style.

Lions sign QB Chase Daniel

The former Missouri QB has bounced around a bit during his career and now he will be a member of the Honolulu Blue and Silver for the next three seasons.

While the Lions do have David Blough on the roster, he is young and inexperienced — but he can learn a lot under veterans like Matt Stafford and Chase Daniel.

For years the Lions have not had a solid No. 2 QB on their roster. Last season Lions fans saw that first hand. Adding Daniel gives the Lions a nice option if Stafford were to get injured in 2020.

Daniel has played for the Saints, Chiefs, Eagles, and Bears during his 10-year career.

Grade: B-

Halapoulivaati Vaitai is a big man

The Lions made their first big splash in free agency by acquiring former Eagles offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai.

The deal is reportedly worth $50 million over five years. The former TCU product was selected in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Vaitai has a strong reputation for having good versatility as he has played several positions on Philadelphia’s offensive line.

That is a big plus for Detroit. Speaking of big, at 6′ 6″ and 320 pounds, Vaitai should add some nice protection upfront for Matt Stafford in 2020.

The only negative is that he started just three games for the Eagles in 2019 — and he only hit the starting lineup once in 2018.

In 2017, Vaitai started 10 games and was a big part of the Eagles’ success on offense. I like the addition, just not sure about the amount paid out on this deal.

Grade: C+

Jamie Collins, Nick Williams build up defense

The Lions need to be better on defense. On paper they made some big strides over the past 12-hours, now time will tell if it plays out on the field.

Detroit has signed former Patriots star Jamie Collins to a three-year deal worth $30 million.

Collins was a big part of Matt Patricia’s defense back in New England from 2013-2016. He is expected to strengthen the Lions defense and play alongside Jarrad Davis and Jahlani Tavai.

If Collins plays as well as he did in New England this will be a nice boost at LB for the Leos.

Grade: B+

As for Nick Williams, Detroit is banking on him helping the surge in the middle.

Williams has been mostly a role player since being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013. However, when he got a chance to start in Chicago last year he played very well.

Williams recorded a career-high seven sacks with the Bears in 2019. He also had two fumble recoveries and five solo tackles for losses.

Numbers like that from the DT would surely open the door for players like Trey Flowers along with the linebackers to pressure the opposing QB.

Grade: B-

Joseph Karbousky has been freelance writing since 2010 and more

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