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Monday open thread: Will the Lions make another big free agent signing?

Will the Lions add another top-tier free agent?

Seattle Seahawks v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have been quiet in free agency, but is this the calm before the storm?

For a team with as many weaknesses as the Lions, free agency looked like a prime opportunity to build up their roster. Instead, most of their moves have revolved around depth signings and re-signings. To date, the Lions have signed just two players from other teams. Given how the Lions performed in 2021, that doesn’t seem ideal. However, the slow start to free agency isn’t something to be too concerned about. The Lions have made enough moves to set them up nicely for the draft while still leaving some wiggle room for more free agents.

The Lions have made three critical signings thus far. Safety Tracy Walker was re-signed to a three-year deal, giving the Lions some stability at the position. The Lions also re-signed edge rusher Charles Harris to a two-year contract. Not only do the Lions retain a productive player, but he also provides much-needed rotational depth following the release of Trey Flowers. Finally, the Lions addressed a significant hole at outside receiver by signing DJ Chark to a one-year deal. On top of the need he fills, Chark comes at a reasonable price compared to other receiver contracts doled out this free agency.

However, the Lions still have more work to do. With approximately $22 million remaining in cap space, they should have sufficient room to sign another notable free agent, even when factoring in the cost of their draft class. Despite their previous signings and re-signings, the Lions still have significant weaknesses that need to be addressed. They need one or two more safeties to pair with Walker. Their linebackers could use a bona fide starter. Another starting-caliber receiver would be nice as well.

The Lions will likely address some of their needs in the draft, but free agency is still an avenue they could explore. Whether the Lions opt for that route, however, is a different story.

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Will the Lions make another big free agent signing?

My answer: I don’t think they will.

Of course, this depends on your definition of a “big” signing. To me, a signing with an average annual value over $6 million is big. For example, I would call Charles Harris and his two-year, $14 million deal as a fringe big signing. Is this free agent a capable player that can immediately slot into a starting role? If so, that’s a big signing.

There are still some talented players available after the first wave of free agency, but many of the ones atop the Lions’ wish list may be gone. Safety Marcus Williams, a near-perfect fit for the Lions, signed with the Baltimore Ravens. Coupled with fellow safeties Jessie Bates, Quandre Diggs, and Justin Reid no longer being available, the safety group has diminished quickly. There are slim pickings at wide receiver and linebacker as well, though the Lions did well to sign a receiver like Chark.

There are some splash free agents the Lions could acquire, but the fit is often questionable. Bobby Wagner and Tyrann Mathieu are perhaps the biggest names still available, but as veterans, they will likely prefer a team that can challenge for Super Bowls right now. With the Lions in the midst of a rebuild, signing aging players may not be the best course of action.

Former first-round safeties Jabrill Peppers and Keanu Neal are still young, but would you consider them a big signing? Peppers tore his ACL last season, and while he should be recovered come September, I’m not sure he’ll get more than $5 million, nor do I think he’d be an above-average starter. Neal played poorly in 2021 at linebacker, but he is hoping to move back to his natural safety position. Would that warrant a sizeable contract despite a down year? I think both safeties are options for the Lions, but neither would signing would wow me.

Gerald Everett was a prime candidate for the Lions, but he just signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Los Angeles Chargers. The Lions signed Garrett Griffin, but with just seven career catches, the Lions could stand to acquire a better TE2. Unfortunately, there aren’t many candidates. Rob Gronkowski once threatened to retire after almost getting traded to Detroit, and it would be extremely unlikely that he would sign with a rebuilding team. Blake Jarwin is talented, but he has significant injury concerns. If you’re hoping for a big-name tight end signing, you’re out of luck.

Overall, I think the Lions stay out of the spending spree in free agency. They will throw a few million towards depth and reclamation projects, but I don’t expect them to sign any big-ticket free agents.

Your turn.


Will the Lions make another big free agent signing?

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