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2022 NFL free agency preview: 5 wide receivers the Lions should consider

Here’s where the Lions can spend that money

New York Giants v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Wide receiver is one of, if not the biggest, needs the Detroit Lions have this offseason. It’s such a big need that the Lions themselves are basically telling everyone they’re going to add one... or three. The Lions need some guys to catch some passes, and lucky for them, there are plenty of guys out there who can do just that for the Lions. Here are the top five options the Lions should be looking at in free agency.

Previously:

Chris Godwin

In my opinion, Godwin is the guy the Lions should be going after the hardest this offseason. Godwin can bring a lot to the table. He can play both the slot and outside and has a proven track record of success. Godwin is also just 26 years old. The Lions are a good fit for him, because he would have the opportunity the number one receiver here as opposed to sharing the workload like he did in Tampa last year with Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski. It’s his offense as soon as he shows up.

The connection with Lions receiving coach Antwaan Randle El is what could really help get this done for the Lions. Randle-El has already expressed his desire to get a receiver in free agency. That receiver should be Godwin.

Christian Kirk

Kirk as already been linked to the Lions once before this offseason by ESPN. It’s a good fit for both parties. The Lions could utilize Kirk’s speed to start passing the ball down field more often. Kirk is a little bit more of a safer bet to catch the deep ball than Kalif Raymond—who is an unrestricted free agent—does.

The issue the Lions run into with Kirk is that he’s pretty much a slot receiver. Though he’s played outside receiver plenty in his Cardinals career, he’s coming off his most productive season in 2021, and that came mostly from the slot.

The Lions already have Amon-Ra St. Brown, who, too, excelled in the slot. Still, having two receivers who can separate, catch the ball, and bring inside-outside versatility is not a problem. It’s an asset. Labels don’t matter in the Lions offense. Detroit has already pledged to build scheme around their players, and new offensive coordinator Ben Johnson showed he’s capable of that by St. Brown’s late-season emergence.

Plus Kirk is only 25, so he could be a long-term part of the Lions rebuild.

DJ Chark Jr.

At 6-foot-4, Chark can give the Lions that big outside receiver that can flat-out fly. Chark ran a 4.3 at the 2018 NFL Combine. He can be what the Lions hoped Tyrell Williams would have been. Chark can also go up and get some high point balls in the red zone, something the Lions specifically said they need to get better at.

“When we get down there, the size matchups make a huge difference,” Johnson said on Tuesday at the NFL Combine. “That was another thing that we brought up is how many times did we really throw it outside the numbers when we got down there tight? And probably below league average. So that’s something we need to look at and need to continue to explore.”

In Chark’s young career, he has scored nine touchdowns in the red zone.

The big downside is that Chark is he’s coming off a fractured ankle that he suffered in Week 4. The Lions may be able to get themselves a discount because of that, but they also take the risk that Chark may not return to form in 2022.

Allen Lazard

The Packers are going to somehow try to keep Aaron Rodgers while also making Davante Adams the highest-paid receiver in NFL history while also keeping the rest of their roster together. Someone is going to be the odd man out. If that someone is Allen Lazard, the Lions should jump on that.

At 6-foot-5, Lazard gives the Lions a big receiver who can go up and get it in the red zone. He doesn’t have a lot of speed, but his size and jumping ability makes him a tough mismatch for just about any corner out there. That’s probably why he pulled down eight touchdowns in 2021.

Josh Reynolds

Reynolds took some time to find his footing in Detroit last season, but once he did, he began to flourish. He played a big part in the Lions’ wins over the Vikings (69 yards) and the Cardinals (68 yards, 1 TD) and showed that there really is connection between him and Jared Goff.

Bringing back Reynolds doesn't solve the whole problem for the Lions. They still need to find some more receivers who can play a bigger role. However, Reynolds is a guy who can certainly have a role on this team, and the Lions should be looking to make that happen.