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2023 Detroit Lions free agent profile: Can Bobby Price bounce back after freak injury?

Bobby Price was becoming a special teams ace for the Lions before an injury in practice cut his season short.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions figure to make several changes to their cornerback room. Not only are the Lions likely to upgrade their starters, with only a few players signed on for the 2023 season, the depth figures to see significant changes, too.

Before we look into one of those depth positions, catch up on our Lions free agent profile series below.

Unrestricted free agents: WR DJ Chark, RB Jamaal Williams, RB Justin Jackson, QB Nate Sudfeld, IOL Evan Brown, OT Dan Skipper, NT Isaiah Buggs, EDGE John Cominsky, EDGE Austin Bryant, LB Alex Anzalone, LB Josh Woods, LB Chris Board, CB Will Harris, CB Mike Hughes, CB Amari Oruwariye, SAF DeShon Elliott, SAF C.J. Moore, and K Michael Badgley

Restricted free agents: OT Matt Nelson, C/G Ross Pierschbacher

Today’s topic: cornerback Bobby Price

Bobby Price

Expectations heading into 2022

In 2021, the Lions new coaching staff approached Price about a position change. After joining the team in 2020 as a safety, the Lions tried Price out at outside cornerback. He started two games that season when the injury bug hit the Lions early, but after really struggling against the Bears in Week 4, Price was replaced by Jerry Jacobs, who proceeded to have a breakout season.

With a healthy Jeff Okudah, Amani Oruwariye, and Jacobs heading into 2022—along with free agent addition of Mike Hughes—Price was going to be fighting for his football career in training camp. As a significant special teams contributor in 2021, he did have a leg up.

Actual role in 2022

Participation: 5 games (0 starts) — 38 defensive snaps, 120 special teams snaps
Stats: 4 tackles
PFF grades: 61.5 on special teams, 44.2 on defense

Price managed to find his way onto the 53-man roster, and was immediately a four-phase special teamer for the Lions in 2022. In fact, through five games, no Lions player had more special teams snaps than Price. Specifically, Price played the important gunner role on punt coverage.

Price did make a couple appearances on defense, with his most notable moment coming on a two-point conversion. He stepped in front of a Carson Wentz pass for an interception, keeping the Lions lead at eight in the fourth quarter:

Unfortunately, his season was cut short by a freak accident in a Week 7 practice. Per Dave Birkett:

“Price tore his MC in practice this week when a teammate dove into his knee in a walk-through.”

Price had surgery on his knee and did not return for the rest of the season.

Outlook for 2023

Contract status: Restricted free agent

The Lions likely won’t use a restricted free agent tender on Price, but don’t be surprised if they bring him back on a very cheap deal. They clearly valued Price on special teams last year, and had he not suffered the injury, he may have led the entire team in special teams snaps for the season.

Price has elite athletic traits, is still relatively new to the cornerback position, and turns 25 years old in April. If he’s healthy enough to not miss any offseason time, he’s an easy re-sign and can continue to grow as a cornerback while offering decent special teams value.

However, the Lions are likely to hit the cornerback room aggressively this offseason. Of last year’s contributors, only Okudah, Jacobs, and Chase Lucas are under contract. Oruwariye is likely gone, while the futures of Will Harris and Mike Hughes are a little less clear.

So if the Lions add several players in free agency and the draft, will there be enough room for Price? Personally, I think the Lions would be wise to bring Price back for now, but that shouldn’t prevent them from attacking the position hard with new players.


Should the Lions re-sign Bobby Price?

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