Now that we’re in full offseason mode, we’re going to review every single Detroit Lions player that finished the 2016 season under contract. We’ll look at their expectations coming into the season, whether they met those expectations and what to expect of them going forward. We will begin with the upcoming free agents, as they are the most intriguing and time sensitive.
Expectations before 2016
Wright entered the year with expectations of becoming the Lions’ No. 2 tight end behind Eric Ebron. In 2015, the Lions traded for Wright at the beginning of the season, but he had only appeared in nine games. Still, Wright’s career was extremely young, and although he had already bounced around on a few teams, many believed he was poised to break out in 2016
Actual Role in 2016
2016 stats: 0 games
Wright tore his ACL back in May and spent the entirety of 2016 on the Lions’ injured reserve list. This was a huge disappointment as Wright didn’t appear on the injury report once in 2015.
As a result, the Lions desperately searched for a replacement all year. They cycled through Andrew Quarless, Cole Wick, Khari Lee and Clay Harbor before landing on Matthew Mulligan at the end of the season.
Outlook for 2017
Contract status: Unrestricted free agent
The Lions remain woefully thin at tight end, and if the Lions are willing, they could very well give Wright another shot in 2017. He hasn’t had much of a professional career thus far, only pulling in nine catches for 77 yards in a full season with Detroit in 2015, and coming off of an ACL injury is always a tough hurdle to jump. However, Wright has a few things going for him. First, the Lions are in need at tight end, and Wright at least has familiarity with the team. Also, he will undeniably come cheap, since he has jumped between two teams and only played nine games in two seasons. Last year, he pulled in a salary of just $815,000, and they could probably sign him for less this time around.
The Lions have plenty of other needs on their roster, so a second-string tight end isn’t exactly a high priority. Wright could provide an easy fix, but his effectiveness is still under question, especially as a blocking tight end, which is Detroit’s main weakness at the position. Detroit may be better off trying to find more of a cheap, blocking option elsewhere in free agency.
Previously profiled Lions: Riley Reiff, Anquan Boldin, Dan Orlovsky, Devin Taylor, Rafael Bush, Don Muhlbach, Larry Warford, Andre Roberts, TJ Jones, Kerry Hyder, Jon Bostic, Marvin Jones, Alex Carter