(97.1 The Ticket) Lions general manager Bob Quinn said he intends to make upgrades at running back this offseason, and so far he isn’t wasting time.
In addition to ex-Titans Pro-Bowler DeMarco Murray, Detroit is hosting former-Panthers Pro Bowler Jonathan Stewart for a visit on Monday, per ESPN. Stewart is scheduled to arrive first.
Both players were released last week, meaning they can sign with another team before free agency officially opens at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
Stewart, a 10-year vet whose entire career has been played in Carolina, is coming off a season in which he posted a career-low 3.4 yards per carry. Still, he found the end zone six times and managed 680 yards, two numbers that would have ranked first on the Lions.
Detroit finished last in the NFL in rushing in 2017 for the second time in three years.
Stewart turns 31 this month. His yards-per-carry has declined each of the past four seasons, from 4.6 to 4.1 to 3.8 to 3.4. The Lions likely view him as a potential complement to a more dynamic, open-field runner they can find in the draft.
In fact, it feels increasingly likely the team will sign a veteran running back, with Stewart being one of a handful of intriguing names available, and draft another.
One thing, at least, is clear: Quinn won’t enter the 2018 season with the same quintet of Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Tion Green, Dwayne Washington and Zach Zenner that stumbled to 3.36 yards per carry in 2017.