Most times when speaking about free agency, the fans talk about the new guys. Those are the players that drum up the excitement and the lifeforce that feeds all fanbases: hope. New faces bring new expectations. New expectations bring heightened goals, as all 32 fanbases binge on kool-aide this time of year.
But sometimes free agency can be just as much about the players lost from the previous season. While there’s usually a good reason a team moved of from a former player, oftentimes those players just desire a change of scenery, or there was no chemistry between player and coaches.
The Detroit Lions have lost a fair amount of players to free agency thus far. Here’s a list that doesn’t even include the players still out there unsigned:
- CB DJ Hayden
- TE Darren Fells
- S Don Carey
- DT Haloti Ngata
- LB Tahir Whitehead
- DE/LB Brandon Copeland
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Which, if any, of those players did you want the team to re-sign the most?
My answer: While it’s not exactly devastating that the Lions lost any of these players, the biggest loss was that of Haloit Ngata. It’s not like he’s a completely dominant player at this point in his career, but his mentorship and leadership could have really thrived in a locker room full of new and young faces.
And the worst part about it is that Matt Patricia likely agreed. The Lions reportedly offered Ngata an identical deal to the Eagles, but Haloti chose to play in Philly instead.
So the Lions turned around and signed Sylvester Williams, and they could very well add another veteran defensive tackle in Alan Branch or Ricky Jean Francois. And while those players would bring experience inside Patricia’s system, neither has the pedigree nor the personal relationship with some of the players already in Detroit.
The loss of Ngata won’t cripple the Lions’ defense in 2018—much like it did last year—but Detroit is still trying to fully compensate for the loss, and they may not be able to do it in just one offseason.
Which free agent should the Lions have re-signed?
This poll is closed