7 teams Rams must outbid for OLB Danielle Hunter as free agency heats up

Danielle Hunter, Minnesota Vikings
Danielle Hunter, Minnesota Vikings / David Berding/GettyImages
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While the 2024 NFL Draft class seems to have plenty of promising prospects at Edge rusher, many NFL teams are looking for a more immediate solution to their need for pass rush help. After all, even elite rookie pass rushers need time to adjust to the speed and physicality of the NFL. Curiously, the LA Rams have first hand experience in that learning curve, as both rookie OLB Byron Young (8.0 sacks) and NT Kobie Turner (9.0 sacks) led the 2023 rookie class.

But the team needs more.

Even Rams GM Les Snead admitted that some of the team's struggles at times to shut down the pass from their young secondary was tied to a lack of pass rush, affording opposing quarterbacks too much time to find an open receiver. So there is no doubt that the team is, in fact, motivated. But how to go about it? Trade for a pass rusher? Sign one in free agency? Or simply draft one, and await the maturation process that requires a year or two to develop into their peak form?

When we explored trading for Carolina Panthers OLB Brian Burns, we talked about the biggest splash at the OLB position would be to sign ex-Vikings OLB Danielle Hunter. But we hinted at pitfalls over pursuing the hottest name at the position.

"All of these factored into the belief that the Rams' biggest swing for the fences at Edge rusher is to pursue ex-Vikings Danielle Hunter. But even that scenario has pitfalls that we will discuss very shortly."

Bret Stuter

We are now prepared to discuss those hidden pitfalls:

VII: Detroit Lions

Some reports suggest that the Detroit Lions are very interested in signing free-agent Edge rusher Danielle Hunter, while other reports are not quite as convinced that the Lions' interest is authentic. What we can say objectively is that the Lions have plenty of available salary cap funds to spend, have the fewest number of players under contract for 2024 (Per Spotrac.com on March 3, just 49 players), and are a NFC North Division rival for the Minnesota Vikings.

Any action that weakens the Vikings while strengthening the Lions roster must be viewed as within the realm of possibilities.

Pairing Danielle Hunter with Lions Aiden Hutchinson would certainly be a B-12 shot to the Lions pass rush. After all, the rules that apply to all NFL teams most certainly apply to the Detroit Lions as well. If they hope to upgrade their team after a promising 2023 NFL season, they will need to take huge steps to get over the hump. Signing Hunter would be one such step.