Perhaps the Detroit Lions biggest need this offseason is defensive end. After releasing Kyle Vanden Bosch, losing Cliff Avril to free agency and exposing Lawrence Jackson to the open market the Lions are rather thin at the position.
The team made its first move to address the position by signing defensive end Jason Jones to a three-year deal on Wednesday.
He spent four seasons there, recording 15.5 sacks before leaving for the Seattle Seahawks via free agency.
Jones signed a one-year deal with Seattle, playing 12 games and recording three sacks in 2012.
Fit and Role: Jason Jones and the Detroit Lions Defensive Line
The Lions have a high-level of familiarity with Jones, as head coach Jim Schwartz and defensive line assistant coach Jim Washburn scouted and drafted him out of college.
"It's been well documented that he was a guy that we drafted when I was in Tennessee, when Jim Washburn was the defensive line coach there," said Schwartz. "The things that we liked in him then allowed him to be successful in that scheme and also allowed him to be successful in Seattle last year."
The Lions know exactly what they are getting in Jones and figure to move him back to the defensive end position, which slightly contrasts the role he had with the Seahawks.
In Seattle, Jones mostly played on the interior of the line at the tackle position. He came in as a situational rusher and only played about 43 percent of the team's defensive snaps when active. Almost every time he was put on the field was to rush the passer.
During his time in Tennessee he played closer to 60 percent of the defensive snaps and – in 2011 – spent more time at the defensive end position than any other year – a role he figures to have in Detroit.
"Jason's a multi-dimensional defensive lineman. He can play end, he can play tackle, he's stood up, he's done a lot of different things," said Schwartz. "He's probably going to hold most of his time at defensive end here, but he can rush inside, he can play inside. He obviously has great length."
Expect Jones to be more of an every-down player in Detroit rather than a situational rusher.
"I'll probably be playing mostly defensive end on first and second downs," said Jones. "But with the d-line with (Ndamukong) Suh and (Nick) Fairley right now, those guys are the staple. I'm just coming in to contribute wherever I can and bring some play-making to this defense."
The Lions are familiar with Jones but he can also take comfort in all that he recognizes with his new organization, including the coaches, scheme and city.
"You've got Schwartz here who was my defensive coordinator when I got drafted at Tennessee," said Jones. "You've got Jim Washburn who took me as a young pup and taught me a lot about this game and how to pass rush and how to play it. You've got Marcus Robertson who I'm familiar with too. So, just having nothing new already here and then being home, it was a no-brainer for me."
The Jones signing does seem to be a solid fit but doesn't completely fill the Lions need at defensive end. If nothing else, the team will need to add some solid depth but might still be in the market for a player to sit atop the depth chart at defensive end.