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2017 Detroit Lions roster review: Travis Swanson’s starting struggles sets stage for free agency

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Has Travis Swanson played his last game as a Detroit Lion?

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Our 2017 roster review will reexamine the Lions’ roster and how it played out last season. We’ll take a look at expectations, performance and potential role in the future.

Today, we continue our discussion with Detroit Lions center Travis Swanson.

Travis Swanson

Expectations before 2017

Swanson was a bright spot for much of 2016. After struggling in nearly every way as a rookie in 2014, followed up by a weak 2015, we saw an incredible resurgence in 2016 where he was one of the best players on the entire offense. We had posited before that Swanson was possibly headed off the roster after 2017 if he didn’t follow that up and folks, he didn’t play well at all.

Actual role in 2017

2017 stats: 11 games (11 starts)
PFF grade: 43.1 (32nd of 37)

He didn’t play average, either. In many ways, Swanson was one of the biggest disappointments of 2017 as any hope for stability on the interior of the offensive line was dashed by poor line calls and blocking alike.

That’s just taking into consideration his play on the field, because it looks even more dire when you factor in health. Swanson ended 2017 much in the same way he ended 2016, with a concussion severe enough to keep him from even practicing for several weeks. While Swanson was out, Graham Glasgow stepped in and filled his role far better than Swanson ever had, likely signalling the end for the former Arkansas product in Detroit.

Outlook for 2018

Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Travis Swanson was generally well liked in Detroit and, generally, backed up by the fan base. When new general manager Bob Quinn stepped in, it signalled a shift in how the team was going to address their offensive line and with it the likelihood of retaining players who didn’t fit an incoming scheme evaporated.

Despite solid play, Riley Reiff and Larry Warford were both shipped off and it was likely that Swanson was going to see the same outcome even if he had a strong finish to his Lions tenure. Instead, he spent much of Detroit on the injury report for one reason or another, most recently a rash of concussions that will make it difficult for him to latch on outside of Detroit.

It’s unlikely the team tries to bring back Swanson. With his role already overtaken by Graham Glasgow, he’d be relegated to a swing backup position here, and while that might be sufficient if he can’t find work elsewhere, it’s more likely he hits the market and tries to sell himself to an offensive line needy team based on his starting experience and strong 2016 tape. Ultimately, his days in Detroit are at best numbered, but most likely over.

Poll

Should the Lions re-sign Travis Swanson

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Yes
    (100 votes)
  • 93%
    No
    (1411 votes)
1511 votes total Vote Now

Previously: DE Dwight Freeney, LB Tahir Whitehead , DE Ezekiel Ansah, S Tavon Wilson, CB Nevin Lawson, LS Don Muhlbach, LB Paul Worrilow, WR TJ Jones, TE Darren Fells, OT Greg Robinson, DT Jordan Hill, CB DJ Hayden, S Don Carey, LB Nick Bellore, G Don Barclay, RB Mike James