With Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Detroit Lions’ chance at making the postseason this year is around one percent. And while interim head coach Darrell Bevell may be channeling his inner Lloyd Christmas, telling reporters, “So you’re saying there’s a chance,” we’re going to stay a little more grounded in reality and look to the future.
Of course, the biggest choice Detroit must make this offseason is who will lead the team, both in the front office and on the field. But we’ve already spent plenty of time talking about the general manager and head coaching vacancies.
Instead, let's’ turn our attention to the Lions roster. Detroit is going to have to make a lot of tough decisions when it comes to their 2021 free agent class, and it won’t be easy for the new general manager to make those assessments in the first month or two on the job.
So why not give this new general manager some guidance? Today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lions 2021 free agents should the team keep around?
My answer: First, let’s look at all of the unrestricted free agents.
WR Marvin Jones
WR Kenny Golladay
WR Mohamed Sanu
WR Danny Amendola
WR/RB Jamal Agnew
RB Adrian Peterson
RB Jonathan Williams
G Oday Aboushi
EDGE Everson Griffen
EDGE Romeo Okwara
LB Jarrad Davis
LB Reggie Ragland
CB Darryl Roberts
CB Tony McRae
S Duron Harmon
S Jayron Kearse
S MIles Killebrew
K Matt Prater
LS Don Muhlbach
Obviously, the first name that jumps out is Kenny Golladay. Whoever the next general manager is will have to smooth things over with Golladay and navigate a tricky amount of cap space, but at the very least, the Lions should consider using the franchise tag on the Pro Bowl receiver, even with his struggles with injury this year.
Other than that, there really aren’t any must-keeps. Tony McRae and Miles Killebrew deserve serious considerations due to their special teams value, but neither should be considered high-priority re-signings. Duron Harmon has been a solid single-high safety, but his value will be determined by what scheme the Lions plan on running. Romeo Okwara probably earned himself another contract, as well, but his asking price may be pretty high after a breakout season. Maybe he’ll take a discount to stay with his brother, though.
The Lions also have some key decisions to make with their specialists, once again. I believe it would be wise to keep both Matt Prater and Don Muhlbach around. Even with Prater’s shaky season this year, he still has the strength, and he’s not nearly as bad as some make him out to be. He’s 15-of-19 on kicks from 49 yards or less. It could be much, much worse.
But looking at this overall list, I’m not seeing a lot of tricky decisions, to be honest. Detroit has the opportunity to move on from a lot of mediocre players, and they probably should. The challenge will be finding all these replacements in one offseason with a limited cap. Good luck, future GM, whoever you may be.