Free Agency: Can Detroit Lions nab Richard Sherman or Malcolm Butler?

Free Agency: Can Detroit Lions nab Richard Sherman or Malcolm Butler?

A quick breakdown of 10 starter-level free agents who may interest the Detroit Lions when the new NFL league year begins March 14. Video by Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press Wochit

The free-agent negotiating period opens Monday and the Lions have holes to fill on both sides of the ball. Here is the seventh installment in a series of position-by-position breakdowns on the top players available in free agency and what the Lions might do at each position:

Your guide to Lions free agency!

Defensive backs

The Lions have three players headed for free agency who played significant roles on defense last year in Nevin Lawson, DJ Hayden and Tavon Wilson, but Bob Quinn said at the combine last week “there’s probably a pretty good chance” their replacements already are on the roster. The Lions drafted a pair of cornerbacks in the first five rounds last season. Teez Tabor will compete for the starting job opposite Darius Slay with whatever free agent the Lions add or re-sign — new secondary coach Brian Stewart coached Hayden for two seasons in college at Houston — and Jamal Agnew could play as the slot corner depending on what the Lions do with Quandre Diggs. At safety, Wilson played for Matt Patricia in New England, so there’s some familiarity there, but it might be time to see if Miles Killebrew can handle an expanded role.

The draft this year is deep at cornerback and safety, and there are some intriguing options on the free-agent market. Trumaine Johnson played the last two seasons on the franchise tag and is a virtual lock to leave the Los Angeles Rams this spring. Malcolm Butler’s Patriots career is over; could a reunion with Patricia be in the cards? And Richard Sherman was released by the Seahawks on Friday after undergoing two Achilles surgeries. Beyond those three, T.J. Carrie and E.J. Gaines are No. 2-type corners who could be in for big paydays, and Aaron Colvin and Patrick Robinson are top slot defenders. Safety isn’t quite as deep in free agency, and the best player at that position — Eric Reid — won’t be a fit for every team because of his outspoken stance on social issues. For teams that don’t like Reid, the oft-injured Morgan Burnett and versatile Kenny Vaccaro also are on the market.

On the Lions’ roster

CB: Darius Slay, Teez Tabor, Jamal Agnew, Des Lawrence, Adairius Barnes; S:…