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2020 Detroit Lions free agent profiles: Is this the end for Don Muhlbach?

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Has the time finally come for The Mule to ride off into the sunset?

Detroit Lions v Washington Redskins Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Before I even get started, I just want you to know how dirty it felt typing this headline. Don Muhlbach has been with the Detroit Lions for 16 seasons, which means his Lions career is undoubtedly older than a pretty big subset of Lions fans. I’m not trying to push him out, because I don’t want to see him go.

Maybe it’s ridiculous to get attached to a long snapper, but when your franchise doesn’t give you a lot to cheer about, sometimes the guy who does the mundane task well nearly every time is the most endearing person in the room.

But Muhlbach is 38 years old and will be 39 before the 2020 regular season begins. Is it finally time to start talking about life after Don?

Previously in this series:

Don Muhlbach

Expectations before 2019

On February 13, the Detroit Lions gave Muhlbach another one-year extension, pretty much guaranteeing him the long snapper job for 2019. In fact, the Lions never even signed competition for Muhlbach. So the job was his to keep.

Actual Role in 2019

2019 stats: 16 games played

Muhlbach showed up, did his job, and went home. There were no glaring mistakes during the 2019 season from Muhlbach, justifying the Lions’ decision to keep him around. He even helped fullback Nick Bawden work on his long-snapping... just in case.

What should the Lions do with him?

Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

The case for re-signing:

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Muhlbach hasn’t been a factor in an NFL game in several years... and that’s a good thing for a long snapper. As long as he wants to come back, there’s no reason he shouldn’t. Long snapping isn’t like other positions where you have to groom a young player and starting thinking for the future. No, long snapper is like a reliable car. You drive that thing into the ground because it’s dependable.

The case against re-signing:

Well, the Lions did sign a long snapper to a futures deal in James Fisher, who played briefly in last year’s AAF league. So there is a backup plan if retirement in the cards. The only real reason to move on from Muhlbach even if he does want to come back is to get the next Muhlbach. Fisher looks promising, but who knows how long he’ll last?

My Thoughts:

If Muhlbach wants to come back, you don’t show him the door. No one shows Muhlbach the door. If he wants to retire, you ask him if he’s sure, then you ask him one more time.

As for any inclination on what Muhlbach will do, he didn’t give many hints after the 2019 season was over. He did note, however, that he still feels pretty good.

“I feel fine,” he said per DetroitLions.com. “Old. But good. All these guys keep me young, it’s kind of nice.”

Good enough for me. Baby, come back.

Poll

Should the Lions re-sign Don Muhlbach?

This poll is closed

  • 91%
    Yes
    (834 votes)
  • 8%
    Oops, I meant to click yes
    (82 votes)
916 votes total Vote Now