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2022 Detroit Lions free agent profile: The curious case of Tyrell Crosby

What’s next for the Lions former starting right tackle?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions have 13 players that are set to hit free agency this March, and while we have profiled the 10 contributors from last season, there were three potential unrestricted free agents that didn’t play a snap after landing on injured reserve.

Let’s take a closer look at one of those players and close out our 2022 free agent profile series.

If you missed any of the previous articles, you can check them out here: Tracy Walker, Charles Harris, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Alex Anzalone, Josh Reynolds, KhaDarel Hodge, Nick Williams, Dean Marlowe, Kalif Raymond, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Tim Boyle and Joel Heath.

Tyrell Crosby

Expectations heading into 2021

The Lions drafted Crosby in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, in what was considered a steal at the time. Over the next two seasons, Crosby would act as a swing tackle, backing up both on the left and right sides. In 2020, Crosby earned the starting right tackle job and started the first 12 games before an ankle injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

With the Lions replacing their coaching staff in 2021, Crosby appeared to be in a good spot as the returning starter, but when the Lions drafted Penei Sewell with the No. 7 pick, things got murky real quick, and suddenly Crosby was fighting for a starting role.

Actual role in 2021

0 games: Was placed on injured reserve ahead of the season.

When OTAs kicked off in the spring, there were only a handful of players that were not in attendance, and with Crosby’s name being rumored as on the trade block, his absence was noticeable. Crosby’s absence was never addressed or explained (they are voluntary practices), but it wasn’t a great look with the situation being what it was. When Crosby did return for mandatory spring minicamp, he looked behind in the process and was not ready to challenge the rookie to start—forcing him to spend his reps on the second team.

When fall camp rolled around, it was more of the same. Crosby continued working with the second team and continued to look like he was playing catchup. An early camp ankle injury wouldn’t help matters, and when he returned from that, it wasn’t long before he suffered a hamstring injury.

Eventually, Crosby wasn’t showing the new coaching staff enough, and after he was released with an injury settlement at cutdowns, coach Dan Campbell simply said, “We didn’t feel like he was one of the best guys.”

Crosby would pass through waivers unclaimed and reverted back to the Lions roster where he was placed on injured reserve ahead of the season, ending his chances of playing with the Lions in 2021.

On the surface, it seemed like a surprising fall from grace for one of the most well-liked players on the roster. But as it turns out, things were a bit more complicated than they seemed.

Crosby had back surgery in mid-December, which according to Dave Birkett of the Free Press, was an injury that was misdiagnosed by the Lions in training camp.

If you follow this new timeline of events, Crosby's hamstring injury was in early August and just two days after he returned to practice—presumably healthy—the Lions fired their head athletic trainer, Dave Granito. Two weeks later, Crosby was released with an injury settlement, an injury that eventually turned out to be a previously undiagnosed back injury that required surgery.

Outlook for 2022

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent

There is a lot unknown, as neither the Lions nor Crosby have publically spoken about his status since training camp. But in the end, the Lions and Crosby’s relationship appears fractured. His game never translated for this coaching staff, and Crosby may understandably be frustrated that he was misdiagnosed.

At this stage, it would be surprising if Crosby re-signed in Detroit, especially with his path to a starting job blocked by Sewell and Taylor Decker, but it still may be worth exploring.

So what do you think? Share your opinions in the poll and the comments section below.

Poll

Should the Lions make an effort to try and re-sign Tyrell Crosby?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Yes, worth a shot
    (1244 votes)
  • 54%
    No, that ship has sailed
    (1473 votes)
2717 votes total Vote Now