PHOENIX – When the Detroit Lions traded for defensive tackle Damon Harrison Sr. last season, they acquired an All-Pro caliber run defender who helped turn their defense into a top 10 defense overall and top 10 against the run last season.
Since tackles for loss began being tracked in 1994, Harrison became the first defensive tackle to post a season with at least 80 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks and two forced fumbles in 2018.
When trading for Harrison, the Lions picked up the two remaining years of his contract through the 2020 season. Lions general manager Bob Quinn didn’t rule out the possibility of potentially talking about extending Harrison’s deal beyond 2020.
Quinn said it’s something he planned on talking to Harrison’s agent Drew Rosenhaus about either this week or in the coming weeks.
“Not something that I need to do right now,” Quinn said. “My priority right now is the draft. That’s something that we’ll probably talk about May or June.”
Other notes from League Meetings so far:
1. Detroit will have to make a decision in early May whether or not they want to pick up the 2020 fifth-year option on left tackle Taylor Decker. Quinn said he hasn’t made a decision on that yet.
2. The Lions tendered a restricted free agent offer to Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown that was ultimately matched by Los Angeles to keep Brown with the Rams.
“He’s really the type of player we were interested in adding to the running back room,” Quinn said of Brown. “Thought he was young. Thought he was at that cost that we tried to get him for was going to be very reasonable for what we can fit into our budget at that spot.
“You roll the dice a little bit because you don’t know if they’re going to match or not and you try to structure a deal that might be a little bit hard for them to do, but really don’t know, because you think you know their situation looking on paper, but they have other things moving on behind the scenes they can move around. We took a shot at it. Didn’t work out.”
3. The Lions have made several big signings in free agency and still have plenty of cap room available to them. Quinn said the reason for that is because he looks at the salary cap in a “two or three-year lens.” He can’t just sit back and look at it for the 2019 season. It’s his philosophy to structure deals looking at a three-year period. If not, Quinn says the team could set themselves up for failure being too shortsighted.
4. Improving the roster is a continuous process, and needs can change suddenly – and long before the start of free agency. Adding Harrison in a midseason trade last year was an example cited by Quinn on Monday. It's why the personnel department never stops looking at players.
“Our needs change,” Quinn said. “Our needs change every week. One week you might need a defensive tackle. Three weeks later, you get Snacks in a trade. Everything changes.“
5. Quinn didn’t feel strongly about any one of the rule change proposals more than the others. They’ve had some discussions on the changes, and he’ll take his time before formulating some final decisions before teams have to vote.