(97.1 The Ticket) The Lions have made their first significant addition in free agency.
The team agreed to a three-year, $18.75 million contract with former Giants linebacker Devon Kennard on Tuesday, according to Peter Schrager. Kennard can’t officially sign the deal until 4 p.m. Wednesday.
In 15 games with the Giants last season, Kennard recorded 41 tackles (24 solo) and four sacks. The four-year vet will be 27 at the start of next season.
The Lions needed reinforcements at linebacker with Tahir Whitehead, Paul Worrilow and Nick Bellore becoming unrestricted free agents. The team returns Jarrad Davis and Jalen Reeves-Maybin, but someone will likely have to replace Whitehead, who started all 16 games last season.
Kennard appears to be that man.
The year-by-year numbers of Kennard’s contact remain to be seen, but the Lions figure to have about $20 million remaining in 2018 cap space. They still have needs at running back, guard, cornerback and on the defensive line. Earlier Tuesday, the team re-signed safety Tavon Wilson.
After the Lions spent big in free agency in 2017, the acquisition of Kennard represents the kind of middle-tier signing that fits their budget this year.
With an average annual salary of $6.25 million, Kennard becomes the fourth highest-paid player on Detroit’s defense, behind Ziggy Ansah, Darius Slay and Glover Quin.