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NFL free agency preview: 5 quarterbacks the Detroit Lions should consider

The Lions need a backup, is that backup a free agent?

Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Free agency is just over the horizon. In fact, the fun begins just two weeks from Monday with the “legal tampering period” set to start at noon on Monday, March 14. With that in mind, it’s time to really get down to the nitty gritty and take a look at some of the available free agents in the NFL and try to pin down who the best fits are. We’re going to be going through every position on the field regardless of whether or not it’s a top need for the Detroit Lions.

To start it all off, we’re going with a position that is a need for the Lions. A backup quarterback. Currently, both of the Lions’ backups from last year, Tmi Boyle and David Blough, are set to become free agents. Let’s take a look at five quarterbacks who could replace them.

Marcus Mariota

The Lions are going to stand in line for this one. Taking a look at the available quarterbacks in this year’s free agency class shows that there are not a lot of potential starters available (via trade is a different story). Marcus Mariota seems like the standout guy, aside from Jameis Winston, who could find himself starting for a team in 2022. Mariota seems like a good candidate for a Ryan Tannehill -ike redemption opportunity that could turn into something bigger.

Having said that, if Mariota doesn’t find that opportunity elsewhere, he could help build his resume as a backup in Detroit. Mariota fits what the Lions are trying to do at quarterback. If Jared Goff were to go down, I have no doubt Marcus Mariota could do what the Lions are asking Goff to do good enough to not implode the entire season. Mariota also has a mobility to his game that could bring another wrinkle to the Lions offense if need be. He’s no Lamar Jackson, but he can move a little. The Lions should kick the tires here.

Blaine Gabbert

A steady hand is always nice in the backup quarterback world. You want a guy that knows how to hold that clipboard and is a smart guy who can help out in the quarterback room. The type of guy who could be an offensive coordinator someday. A Kellen Moore type, but, ideally, with more talent on the field. Blaine Gabbert is that guy.

Gabbert has been in the league since 2011, and he’s not that good. But again, the reason Gabbert has stuck around for that long is because he’s a valuable commodity in the quarterback room.

Interestingly enough, there’s actual talk about the Bucs replacing Tom Brady with Gabbert going around, but I just can’t see it. If Gabbert is available, the Lions should have former Bucs offensive assistant Antwaan Randle-El help hook it up. Who knows? Maybe Gabbert can take over for offensive coordinator Ben Johnson when he inevitably gets a head coaching opportunity. Maybe I’m just putting the cart way in front of the horse.

Trevor Siemian

Speaking of connections, what if Dan Campbell brings in a guy he worked with in New Orleans to work the backup role? How about Trevor Siemian? Siemian is not a bad option for the Lions. He started four games for the Saints in 2021 and looked pretty okay doing it. The Saints lost all four of those games, but Siemian’s play shouldn’t take a lot of the blame for that. Siemian threw 11 touchdowns and three interceptions in those games—although he completed just 57.4 percent of his passes.

David Blough

Yes, I’m being serious. If things boil down and the Lions miss out on available talent, the Lions could consider keeping David Blough on staff in 2022 simply because he knows what the score is in Detroit. He’s been in the building, and you don’t have to train a new guy. It’s basically like retail. Why fire Jimmy when he already knows how to do everything? Even though Jimmy is not that great at doing the job, what other options do we have if everyone else is hired? Blough is also a restricted free agent, so it’ll be easy to keep Blough around. The Lions could slap an original-round tender on him (he went undrafted) and bring him back for just a smidge over $2 million.

This move also opens up the option for the Lions to grab a guy in the draft or find a diamond in the rough in the undrafted market.

Josh Rosen

What’s the rap on this guy? Rosen was the 10th pick in the draft back in the 2018 NFL Draft, and the Cardinals dropped him like it was nothing when they brought in Kyler Murray the following year. Then the Dolphins brought him in and dropped him in favor of Tua Tagovailoa. Rosen wasn’t very good in Miami, and he’s mostly been on practice squads ever since.

So is Rosen just that bad? Or has he just been screwed over in every situation he’s ever been in? What if the Lions were the team to find out the answer to that question by making him their backup quarterback?

It’s worth noting Josh Rosen is a restricted free agent, so if the Falcons place any sort of tender on him, the Lions should steer clear. Rosen is not worth spending draft capital on.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.