As a precursor to free agency and the NFL Draft, we are going to take a look at each position on the Detroit Lions roster. We begin the series with a look at the Lions' quarterbacks.
Under contract: Matthew Stafford (2017), Kellen Moore (2014)
Free agents: Shaun Hill (UFA)
The quarterback position has been extremely stable for the Lions in recent years. Matthew Stafford has been the starter, and Shaun Hill has served as the backup. Unlike his first couple years in the league, Stafford has stayed quite healthy as of late, so Hill hasn't seen the field very much. As a result, the Lions haven't had any need to even dress Kellen Moore, who has been third on the depth chart the last couple years.
Although he definitely needs to get better this offseason, there's no doubt that Stafford is the Lions' starter at this position. That's not going to change unless he suffers an injury, so that spot on the depth chart is pretty much set.
The backup spot behind Stafford, on the other hand, is not set. Hill is set to become a free agent this offseason, and he could actually be in high demand. In the limited time we've seen Hill play, he has done an extremely good job, and as the Green Bay Packers found out and as the Chicago Bears showed us in 2013, having a solid backup is quite important. It remains to be seen if the Lions will be able to spend the money necessary to keep Hill around, but I'm sure they want him back.
If the Lions aren't able to re-sign Hill, they will have to make a decision on Moore. If the coaching staff decides that Moore is capable of being the backup, then the quarterback position could pretty much be set. However, if they don't think Moore is a good backup option, then they will have to either sign somebody or spend a draft pick to find Stafford's new backup.
Need going forward?
It all really comes down to Hill. If the Lions re-sign him, they should be set at quarterback. I suppose they could bring in somebody else to compete with Moore, but it's also possible that they could go into the 2014 regular season with only two quarterbacks on the roster given that there's a new coaching staff in place. In the past, the Lions have felt more comfortable with having three quarterbacks around, but Jim Caldwell may have a different philosophy on how to construct the 53-man roster.
If Hill lands elsewhere after free agency opens, there will be a need at this position. I personally don't think it would be wise to roll the dice on Moore backing up Stafford, and I don't think spending a draft pick on a quarterback would be a great solution, either. If Hill walks, the most preferable solution would simply be to add a veteran free agent to back up Stafford. Then again, if that ends up being the Lions' Plan B, they should just make sure they re-sign Hill in the first place so there is no need at this position.