Now that the NFL Combine is over and the Landon Collins rumors are heating up, it’s time to make a full pivot towards free agency. The new league year starts up in a week’s time, and the legal tampering period is just five days away. The Detroit Lions will begin their roster build for the 2019 season in no time, and the next few weeks are going to be crucial to their success this year.
There are a plenty of different strategies for the free agency period. Some go all out—like the Rams last year—in an effort to get as many talented players as the salary cap allows and to fill needs prior to the draft, allowing the team to pick the best player on draft day rather than go need-heavy. Other teams take a more reserved route, choosing only economical players, seeing as you typically have to overpay for players that hit the open market.
The Lions have employed both of these strategies at times under general manager Bob Quinn, making it hard to predict what will happen next week. What we do know, however, is the pressing needs for this roster. So today’s Question of the Day is:
What positions should the Lions prioritize in free agency?
My answer: In my opinion, this should not just read as a needs lists. When taking into consideration what Detroit should make a priority in free agency, you should keep in mind the players available both in free agency and the draft and the likely cost for getting a talented player in each. So here are my top two priorities in free agency.
1. Tight end
Though the tight end cupboard in free agency is nearly bare and the draft class is overflowing with talent, Detroit needs to sign at least two tight ends in free agency simply because their roster has no one right now. This may require some out-of-the-box maneuvering from Quinn (maybe a trade?) to get someone talented, but the Lions essentially need two starting tight ends this offseason, unless they believe Michael Roberts is going to make an unexpected jump in 2019.
Word out of the NFL Combine is the Lions aren’t interested in one of the top cornerbacks with the eighth overall pick. And while the draft provides some depth in the mid rounds, Detroit shouldn’t sit back and hope their prospect is waiting there in the second or third. The Lions need a backup plan, or a veteran No. 2 corner to bridge the gap even if the Lions do draft a corner. The free agency cupboard isn’t all that bad, either. Kareem Jackson, Eric Rowe, and Jason McCourty are all established defensive backs that can help bring a veteran presence to the secondary.