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5 free agents to watch for the Detroit Lions on offense

Lions fans should have their eyes glued to these guys

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Alright everyone. The Super Bowl is over. Matthew Stafford got himself a ring. Congrats to the the former Detroit Lions quarterback. For Lions fans, it’s time to come back down to Earth and get ready for what should be an exciting offseason. Free agency is less than a month away at this point, and it’s time to start putting your eyes on some players that could be wearing Honolulu Blue in 2022. I’ve got 10 players in mind that the Lions should be in on this March. I’ll be breaking them down by offense and defense. Today we’re talking offense. Let’s jump right into it.

WR Chris Godwin

Let’s start it off with a bang. The Lions are in a need of help at receiver and free agency is full of guys that could help the Lions. Lions receivers coach Antwaan Randle El hopes hopes the Lions draft two receivers and signs one in free agency. If that’s the blueprint for the Lions, then its free agency where the Lions should take their big swing. That swing should be used on Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin.

The Buccaneers are done. Tom Brady has retired and the team’s Super Bowl chances have drastically declined. That should take the idea of Godwin returning to Tampa Bay off the table. Enter the Lions. The Lions can give Godwin something that he’s never really had before. The chance to be “the guy” at receiver. The Lions can pay Godwin handsomely and make him the team’s number one receiver. The Lions can also allow Godwin to continue to work outside where he’s best used. They could use him in the slot too if they wanted to. It’s a really good fit for both parties. His torn ACL that he suffered in December could make him a little less expensive, although ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler talked to Godwin recently, and the young receiver said he’s on track for a full recovery to play in 2022.

Speaking of Randle El, the Lions receiving coach has history with Godwin. He was the Buccaneers offensive assistant in 2019 and 2020. He helped work with Godwin during the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl championship season. Could they be reunited in Detroit?

WR DJ Chark Jr.

Let’s stick to receiver. There’s a chance that the Lions won’t get the shot to sign Godwin, as it sounds like the Bucs would like to re-sign him. DJ Chark is a direction they should look at. The former second-round pick has spent the last four seasons in a toxic situation in Jacksonville. The Lions could give him a chance at a happier future by bringing him to Detroit.

Chark had a very good 2019 and even made the Pro Bowl. Since then, things have trended downward for Chark. In 2020, Chark’s production dipped when he missed a few games with an injury. In 2021, Chark only played four games before fracturing his ankle and missing the rest of the season. So there’s some risk involved for the Lions if they decide to go this route. The good news is that Chark is only 25 years old and with his recent history, he should come at a discount for the Lions.

Chark is a reclamation project for the Lions, but he’s a reclamation project that was pretty good a very short time ago. So while there’s risk, it’s low and the reward is high. Chark will likely have a chip on his shoulder given the last two seasons, and we know what this coaching staff feels about players motivated to prove doubters wrong.

TE Durham Smythe

Okay there are two reasons I likey Smyth here. The first is that name. If football doesn’t work out, he could definitely be the bad guy in the next Die Hard movie. I mean, he’s got my vote in our annual name bracket.

In reality, the Lions need help at tight end. Smythe is a guy that fits right into what the Lions need at their second tight end spot. They need blocking. Smythe brings that and has brought that throughout the course of his career. Last year, Smythe graded out at 65.0 on Pro Football Focus for pass blocking. He’s graded out at 65.0 or higher in that section all four years of his career. Smythe can also catch the occasional pass. Durham Smythe is Dan Campbell.

It’s a long shot, but new Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson could play a part in bringing Smythe to Detroit. Johnson was on the Dolphins coaching staff during Smythe’s rookie year.

OG Austin Corbett

The Lions offensive line is probably set for 2022, but there is a question mark and that question mark is Halapoulivaati Vaitai and his contract. Vaitai had a decent season with the Lions in 2021, but the fact remains that the Lions probably overpaid for him. Their first out in that contract is now. If the Lions move on, they can free around $3.5 million and eat just over $5.2 million in dead cap. Having said that, Vaitai’s recent restructure points to the possibility that he’s not going anywhere.

With all that in mind, if the Lions do decide to move on from Vaitai, Rams guard Austin Corbett could be a fine replacement. Corbett also graded out in the 68 region and after winning a Super Bowl ring, he could be looking for a new place to play and some money. Of course, the Lions front offices’ connection to the Rams could help this out.

QB Colt McCoy

Okay, hear me out. The Lions need a backup quarterback if they don’t plan to draft one this year. Tim Boyle and David Blough, who are both potential free agents this year, aren’t the answer. How about a guy who has been around the league for years and is nothing if not dependable and reliable. How about Colt McCoy?

I’ve long been a fan of Colt McCoy and he actually looked like a reasonable replacement in three starts last year with the Arizona cardinals. He completed 74.7 percent of his passes for 740 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, as the Cardinals went 2-1 with him behind center.

McCoy is not the greatest quarterback to ever do it, and he’s not even half the greatest quarterback to ever do it. But this would likely be a very cheap and very short-term situation for a team that could use an improvement in the backup quarterback situation.