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Just Say No 2: 4 more free agents the Lions need to avoid

The Lions need to be selective in 2023 NFL free agency, which means staying away from these 4 players.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Last week we started off our annual free agency dream-killer series with some pretty names that the Detroit Lions should avoid in free agency. After a week of searching “the Lions should sign” on Twitter, it turns out there are a lot more big names to cross off the list for this team. Let’s jump right in with one I’ve seen way too many times.

Baker Mayfield

Mayfield is just one of those guys who will continue to get talked about non-stop. The former No. 1 overall pick has had quite the run in his NFL career. For much of it, he wasn’t the worst quarterback. He actually had some moments where you thought he could be a decent quarterback in the NFL. Those days are long gone by now. I fully understand that the idea here is to bring Mayfield in as a backup, but the Lions should take a hard pass here.

The Lions definitely need a backup quarterback, but Mayfield is a guy who is right on that edge of being a backup and being a bridge starter. He’s like another Jacoby Brissett—a guy that is somehow going to start like eight games a year. Those guys are more expensive than the young guy that the Lions should draft in the later rounds in April. If the Lions don't completely stay away from quarterback in free agency, they should still stay away from Mayfield.

Patrick Peterson

Give it up already, people. Peterson has been somehow linked to the Lions since he got drafted in 2011. The Lions missed on him in the draft and ever since, he’s been on the wish list for Lions fans whenever his contract ends. I get it. He was one of the league's best corners for a long time. He’s actually still a decent player. He graded out at 80.7 on Pro Football Focus this season. The issue is that he’s going to be 33 when he reports to training camp. It’s cool for the Lions to take swings at this point of the rebuild, but this is not the swing the team needs to take.

Now, if the Lions get a sweetheart deal here, I won’t be super upset about it. Peterson is this week’s player that I won’t be mad about if it happens. I think there is something to the idea that he could be a mentor to a young secondary. The problem is I don’t believe they can get a sweetheart deal after a decent season with the Vikings.

Robert Woods

There’s a chance that DJ Chark doesn’t come back with the Lions in 2023. If that’s the case, the Lions could theoretically be looking for a replacement in free agency. Robert Woods should not be that guy. I realize there’s a connection with Jared Goff and that when Woods and Goff were together, it really worked, but Woods is not that guy anymore. He really struggled with the Titans last year and age (31 when the season starts) is not on his side.

The other issue is that I just don’t see where Woods fits in with the Lions, with Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams, Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond already topping the depth chart. Even if the Lions did make this move, would it really make any difference? It certainly wouldn’t make the kind of impact that Chark could make if the Lions brought him back. With all that said, I wouldn’t at all be shocked if this winds up happening.

Saquon Barkley

I get it. Barkley is really good. He deserves a lot of credit for what the Giants were able to do on offense last year. He’s probably the one of the best, if not the best running back in the game right now. I get why you’d want him here. The issue is that running back just don’t have the same value as they once did, and they tend to fall off a cliff in their production following their rookie deal. Listen to me. I sound like old man Jeremy Reisman over here. He’s right, though. (There I said it. Please let me have my inhaler back.)

The Lions should get a running back this offseason. Especially since it looks like D’Andre Swift might not be the long-term answer due to his issues staying healthy. That said, the Lions don’t need to be the team that has the highest-paid running back on their team right now, especially when the draft is chock full of running back talent. Ultimately the team that does overpay him will look bad for doing it. Maybe not right away, but sooner rather than later. This just isn’t a running league anymore.

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