Detroit Lions agree to deal with New England free agent defensive tackle Danny Shelton, while current cornerback Darius Slay hopes for trade
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
DETROIT — Add a couple more names to the parade of ex-Patriots joining the Detroit Lions.
And one of the top players on Detroit’s current roster is apparently ready to leave.
The Lions agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal with defensive tackle Danny Shelton. Agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed that deal Wednesday. Shelton started 14 games last season for New England.
The Patriots also agreed to trade safety Duron Harmon to the Lions. Both teams announced the deal, but did not announce additional terms. The trade is pending a physical.
ESPN, citing an unidentified source, reported Wednesday night that cornerback Desmond Trufant was signing a two-year deal with the Lions. Darius Slay, who is currently Detroit’s top player at that position, tweeted the following in response to that reported deal:
“Congrats to my guy!!!! Hope that speeds up my trade process!!”
It would not be a surprise if Slay were dealt, but that activity on his twitter account added more drama to Detroit’s offseason.
Lions coach Matt Patricia has familiarity with Harmon. Patricia, now entering his third season as Detroit’s coach, was New England’s defensive coordinator before taking over the Lions.
Detroit general manager Bob Quinn also has New England ties, and it has been common for the Lions to add former Patriots to their roster in recent years.
The Lions have reportedly agreed to deals with offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, linebacker Jamie Collins, defensive tackle Nick Williams and backup quarterback Chase Daniel. Collins played last season with the Patriots and was also with New England from 2013-16.
Last season, Detroit added several other players who had previously been with the Patriots, including defensive end Trey Flowers, receiver Danny Amendola and defensive back Justin Coleman.
Harmon played all seven of his previous NFL seasons with New England. He started a career-high eight games last season. Harmon has 17 interceptions, including two last season.
Shelton had three sacks and a forced fumble last season. He has played five NFL seasons — three with Cleveland and two with the Patriots. He was a first-round draft pick by the Browns in 2015.
Detroit’s defense ranked 31st in the league last season, and defensive tackle was an area of need entering free agency. The Lions released defensive tackle Damon Harrison earlier this offseason.