We have spent a lot of time looking at the new faces on the Detroit Lions, but how about looking back at old ones?
The Lions underwent a lot of change with their roster this offseason. Many of those moves were made as part of a new era of football for Detroit. Matthew Stafford is the biggest name, of course, sent away to the Los Angeles Rams for draft capital and Jared Goff. Whether the picks turn into anything valuable or Goff finds his footing in Detroit remains to be seen, but the Rams got an instant upgrade at quarterback for their playoff push.
Some of the names that left in free agency include returner Jamal Agnew (signed with the Jaguars), linebacker Jarrad Davis (signed with the Jets), receiver Kenny Golladay (signed with the Giants), safety Duron Harmon (signed with the Falcons), receiver Marvin Jones Jr. (signed with the Jaguars), and kicker Matt Prater (signed with the Cardinals). Whether due to money or better opportunities, the Lions lost some key figures in free agency.
The Lions weren’t hesitant to cut ties with players either. Justin Coleman, once the prized free agent slot corner, was released after a disappointing tenure with the Lions—he has since signed with the Dolphins. Two released players joined the Bears this offseason, tight end Jesse James and corner Desmond Trufant. Former second rounder Kerryon Johnson, expected to be the third running back on the team, was waived in early May.
Of these names, which could find a resurgence on a new team?
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Which former Lion will have the most success with their new team?
My answer: I’ll give two different answers for two different definitions of success.
I think Matthew Stafford will have the most success in that he will finally be on a Super Bowl-caliber team. The Rams should be in line to make the playoffs barring a massive disappointment in 2021. Playoff success had eluded Stafford in Detroit—through little fault of his own—but the pieces are in place for him to shine.
However, I don’t think Stafford will play that much better in Los Angeles than he did in Detroit. Instead, his success will come from having a great team around him. For individual success, I think Jarrad Davis can improve a lot.
I was going to pick Davis as a breakout candidate even before his press conference on Wednesday. He mentioned that he contemplated retirement while with the Lions, and he seems extremely positive going into his first year with the Jets. He says that the scheme is “a little bit simpler,” and the Lions found a lot of success when Davis had a reduced and simplified role. Not only does he get an easier role in New York, but he also gets a scheme that better fits his skills. Robert Saleh, the new head coach of the Jets, had success turning Fred Warner into a star linebacker, and Davis is a player with a similar athletic profile. The Jets signed Davis to a $5.5 million deal this offseason, so they certainly view him as an asset in 2021.
Jarrad Davis always had talent, and we saw flashes of it, but it never felt like Detroit was the right fit for him once Matt Patricia took over. He gets a new opportunity in New York, and I think he will make the most out of it.