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Notes: Detroit Lions receive second-highest free agency grade in NFC

One national writer understands the Detroit Lions’ strategy this offseason and believes it’s the right move for the rebuilding franchise.

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Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Detroit Lions’ free agency period didn’t catch a lot of national eyes, and for good reason. The majority of their money was spent on their own free agents, with only five outside players getting new deals in Detroit—and every single one of them was a one-year contract.

Locally, the strategy was met with mixed reactions. Some were eager to see the Lions get a little more aggressive in the offseason, especially after Lions general manager Brad Holmes called this point in the rebuild the “player acquisition” phase. Others understood and respected the modest approach, understanding that the Lions’ strategy is to build through the draft and reward players who responded to coaching and matched their culture.

One writer saw it that way, too. Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton graded every team’s offseason thus far, and his analysis of the Lions was surprisingly dead-on for a national analyst. Wharton gave the Lions a B—the second-highest grade of any other NFC team, only behind the Buccaneers—and said he respected that Detroit knew where their roster was at in the rebuild.

“Knowing the state of your roster and realistic ability to get better in free agency goes a long way toward winning the offseason,” Wharton wrote. “Winning free agency is relative, and for Detroit, it needed to make calculated investments without splurging on shiny names who are unlikely to push the team over the top. The organization accomplished this goal.”

Wharton goes on to say that the re-signings of Charles Harris and Tracy Walker—both on widely-considered affordable deals—was “an impressive feat considering how each developed under this staff in 2021.”

It’s worth noting that only the only other NFC North team that came out with a favorable grade from Wharton was the Minnesota Vikings. They received a B, while the Packers and Bears got a C- and F, respectively. You can read all of Wharton’s analyses here.

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  • Could Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner be in play for the Lions at the second overall pick? Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah debated the topic here:


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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.