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Report: Travis Swanson ‘not expected to return’ to Detroit Lions

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No surprise here.

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NFL: Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

For most of the offseason now, it has been assumed that the Detroit Lions would move on from starting center Travis Swanson, who could become a free agent at the beginning of the league year next week. The former third-round pick has been inconsistent and plagued by concussions in back-to-back seasons. But the front office has remained tight-lipped and no reports have leaked out, so all we could do is assume that Swanson’s future lies elsewhere.

On Monday morning, however, MLive’s Kyle Meinke joined Detroit radio host Matt Shepard and gave him an update the the Lions center. “I’ve been told that Travis Swanson is not expected to return,” Meinke told Shepard.

That doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but it does raise a few more questions. First, what will the team will do with guard Graham Glasgow? Glasgow has replaced Swanson several times at center and performed well, but his starting position has been guard for the past two years.

Last week, Lions general manager Bob Quinn said the Lions hadn’t made a decision on that yet. “The great thing about Graham is he can play both spots,” Quinn said. “We’ll see when we get back in April what other guys we have on the team and kind of how Graham fits into the mix.”

But Meinke implies that decision has basically already been made. “I’ve been told their Plan A is basically move Graham Glasgow to center and acquire a guard,” Meinke said on Monday.

Of course, plans could change based on who is available both in free agency and the draft, but for now, it appears the Lions would like to move Glasgow to center, which always seemed like the plan when Quinn drafted him back in 2016.

So how will the Lions go about filling their interior offensive line vacancy? Will they go after one of the high-profile free agents like Andrew Norwell or Josh Sitton? Or would they rather take their chances in the draft?

Again, Meinke has a strong feeling on the situation.

“I really think it’s going to be in the draft,” Meinke said. “I’ve been covering these NFL Combines and the NFL Draft since 2011, and this is the deepest interior offensive line class I can remember rolling through the Combine.”

The biggest interior offensive line draft prospect is Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson, but after his outstanding NFL Combine performance, he’s not expected to be available by the time the Lions are on the clock. However, players like Billy Price (provided his torn pectoral isn’t too serious), Isaiah Wynn and Will Hernandez are all seriously in play for the Lions in the first two rounds.

We’re a far way from knowing exactly what the Lions will do in the upcoming months, but it certainly looks like Swanson is out the door. After all, he’s already reportedly drawing interest from at least two teams.