The Detroit Lions have traded for defensive tackle Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens today in an attempt to replace Ndamukong Suh. Peter King has reported that the Detroit Lions gave up a 4th and a 5th round pick in exchange for Ngata and a 7th round pick. Ngata is highly regarded as one of the best 3-4 defensive tackles in the NFL and he will certainly provide the Lions with the kind of production they are used to from Suh’s days in Detroit.
Ngata currently only has 1 year left on his contract but it is expected that the Lions will re-negotiate with him for a long term deal. The trade gives Detroit an all pro defensive tackle to replace Ndamukong Suh, far better than the options available in free agency right now, but there is some slight reason for concern. Ngata is a 3-4 defensive tackle and the Lions are a 4-3 defense. This trade could signal the move from 4-3 to 3-4 for Detroit which is concerning only because when Green Bay made the change, their defense struggled to adapt. Detroit’s defense was 2nd in the NFL last season, and while they were expected to take a major step back without Suh, they were still expected to have basically the same core. Now, there could be major adjustments.
The cap number for Ngata as of right now, which of course will change if they re-sign him this offseason, is only $8 million. By comparison, the free agents on the market, which are not of his caliber, were striking deals believed to be between 7 and 8 million per year.