The Detroit Lions have done pretty well in the undrafted free agents department in recent years. Going back to 2012, the Lions have had Kellen Moore, Joseph Fauria, LaAdrian Waddle, Cornelius Lucas and Jerome Couplin make their Week 1 roster as rookies, and aside from Couplin, all of those players are still on the team.
This year, the Lions initially added 12 undrafted free agents. They've signed four more since then, and there's already been a lot of speculation about which UDFAs might make the team this year. Perhaps the best way to evaluate each player's chances of sticking around at this point in the offseason is to simply look at their signing bonuses. This has been a pretty good indicator in the past of how much the Lions like certain UDFAs, so via the Detroit Free Press, here's the rundown for the 12 undrafted players who signed with Detroit last week:
- S Isaiah Johnson (Georgia Tech) - $12,000
- OG Torrian Wilson (UCF) - $11,000
- WR Vernon Johnson (Texas A&M University-Commerce) - $10,000
- K Kyle Brindza (Notre Dame) - $7,500
- TE Casey Pierce (Kent State) - $7,000
- OG Al Bond (Memphis) - $6,000
- RB Zach Zenner (South Dakota State) - $5,000
- QB Anthony Boone (Duke) - $3,000
- S Brian Suite (Utah State) - $2,500
- RB Rasheed Williams (Alfred State) - $2,500
- LB Kevin Snyder (Rutgers) - $1,000
- WR Desmond Lawrence (North Carolina A&T) - $0
It's also worth noting that Johnson got the biggest signing bonus of this group and chose the Lions over four other teams. The Lions seem particularly high on him, and they must feel pretty good about Torrian Wilson and Vernon Johnson as well considering they got $11,000 and $10,000.
Of course, it's important to keep in mind that an undrafted player's signing bonus may not mean anything in the long run. For all we know, Johnson won't even end up on the practice squad and a player like Zach Zenner will end up finding a spot on the 53-man roster. Signing bonuses help us speculate, but the individual performance of each player is obviously more important going forward.
With that said, for reference purposes, here's a look at the signing bonuses for the UDFAs who have in fact made the team in recent years:
- QB Kellen Moore (Boise State) - $20,000
- OT Cornelius Lucas (Kansas State) - $20,000
- TE Joseph Fauria (UCLA) - $12,500
- OT LaAdrian Waddle (Texas Tech) - $10,000
- S Jerome Couplin (William & Mary) - $6,000
Only Couplin had a signing bonus worth less than $10,000, and he's the only one not currently on the team. That's because the Philadelphia Eagles signed him off the Lions' practice squad, though, so it's not like Detroit actively wanted to get rid of him. Regardless, the point is that if you get a five-figure signing bonus, there's a good chance that the Lions could envision you in their future plans. There's no guarantee you will actually make the 53-man roster or anything, but it's certainly a good sign going into your rookie season.