To get ready for free agency, we're going to take a look at each of the Detroit Lions' 2015 free agents. Next up is center Dominic Raiola.
15 games (15 starts) | Allowed 4 sacks, 2 QB hits, 17 QB hurries (via Pro Football Focus)
How he joined the Lions
Drafted in the second round in 2001.
Case for re-signing him
The Lions have already made it known that they won't be re-signing Raiola, so is there any situation where they could change their mind? The only scenario where I could see Raiola returning to the Lions is if Travis Swanson suffers a serious injury or something along the lines of that. Depending on the timing, an injury to Swanson might just mean going to the backup center who is actually on the roster, but if it's something that happens in the offseason, I could certainly see the Lions turning to Raiola.
Case against re-signing him
Why did the Lions decide to move on? It really boils down to this: Raiola is 36 years old, and with a replacement ready to go, it was simply time to transition to a new starting center. Raiola was no longer able to consistently get the job done, and he was really a detriment to the Lions offense at times in 2014. He had a nice resurgence in 2013, but 2014 was a much different story.
Swanson was impressive in his first career start at center in Week 17, and he's clearly ready to become a full-time starter. As a result, this was a pretty straightforward decision. Raiola was no longer getting the job done, and it was simply time to turn the page at the center position.