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Saturday open thread: Does Detroit’s lack of free agency activity bother you?

The Lions haven’t been very active in free agency, but is that a stick in your craw?

NFL Combine Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

“It’s supposed to be the player-acquisition phase! All they’ve been doing is re-acquiring players from a three-win football team! What gives?!”

Admittedly, on the surface, it’s a fair question. Anybody who wants to see the Detroit Lions take a run at the NFC North, or even just a playoff spot, can’t be very encouraged with the start of this offseason. Detroit has re-signed 15 players from last season including safety Tracy Walker, EDGE Charles Harris, and wide receivers Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond. Not so coincidentally, some of the most-talked-about prospects amongst Lions fans in this upcoming draft came from these very positions—spots obviously identified as places where the team could stand to upgrade on last year’s roster.

Fans wanted new blood, though. External free-agent options, although they can be pricey, can seem like a quick fix to the problems in need of a solution because they’re NFL-ready and tested talent.

Making some upgrades to the defense would help Aaron Glenn elevate the group to a level of respectability. A splashy signing like safety Marcus Williams could’ve done the trick. Some feel the offense is closer to completion in terms of Holmes’ rebuild, so a wide receiver like Allen Robinson could’ve felt like a finishing touch. Before you knew it, the team could be ready to contend in an NFC North that feels like it’s undergoing a lot of construction.

This leads to today’s Question of the Day...

Does Detroit’s lack of free agency activity bother you?

No. No, and if it does, it shouldn’t.

The key to putting together a winning product will always be through the use of draft capital. I pick that phrase very carefully because the Los Angeles Rams are currently a case study in “do NFL teams overvalue draft picks?”—and they really could be on to something. But ultimately, the pairing of a talented player and a cost-controlled contract will remain a tenet of team-building for the foreseeable future.

The Lions re-signed players like Charles Harris and Tracy Walker because they were some of the lone bright spots in a defense that was often patched together each week due to injury. Josh Reynolds seemed to unlock something in Jared Goff’s play in the second half of the season, and Kalif Raymond didn’t back down from taking on the role of being the team’s No. 1 wideout despite being signed to be their WR4.

Holmes has only had a chance to get one of his draft classes in the building, but early returns seem to be pretty promising. This year, Detroit has nine draft picks, and considering Holmes’ background as a former director of college scouting, the draft seems where he’s best suited to maximize the value of those picks, so why not wait to see how that cookie crumbles?

It comes down to a matter of patience, as all rebuilds do. The recent trend of seeing a team turn things around after bottoming out—the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals are consistently used as examples—seems to happen along a three-year timeline. The Lions are just now entering year two. For all the hyper-focusing happening on all the recent re-signings, look back an offseason ago when Holmes decided not to bring back Kenny Golladay. Not only did that move save the Lions a ton of cap space in the immediate, but it also provided more flexibility and maneuverability in the future. And that’s something all of those re-signings this offseason have in common: they’re short-term deals that do little to have a lasting effect on Holmes’ options moving forward.

Your turn.


Does Detroit’s lack of free agency activity bother you?

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  • 20%
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    (2748 votes)
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