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Roster impact of the Lions signing IOL Graham Glasgow

The Detroit Lions were able to upgrade their offensive line and return a fan favorite—all in one signing.

NFL: Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the Detroit Lions brought back a fan-favorite to the roster when they signed interior offensive lineman Graham Glasgow to a one-year deal worth up to $4.5 million.

Originally drafted by the Lions in the third round (pick No. 95) of the 2016 NFL Draft, Glasgow has 91 career starts spread out among all three of the interior offensive line positions. Glasgow’s experience and positional versatility set the floor very high for what his role could be in Detroit.

As a player, Glasgow is a balanced lineman. He is solid as both a pass and run blocker, can get out and pull in the Lions’ gap scheme, and can tap into a mean streak when he is on the field. Beyond his positional versatility, his experience at center makes him a highly cerebral player who understands the facets of offensive line play that centers need to thrive. His experience and intelligence make him a plug-and-play player.

Off the field, Glasgow is calm and deliberate. He takes his time when speaking to the media and has a laid-back honesty that is appreciated. In fact, you’ll find that same exact overall attitude in two other Lions offensive linemen: Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow, who happen to be two of Glasgow’s closest friends. Decker and Glasgow came into the league together and played alongside each other for four years, while Glasgow and Ragnow played literally hip-to-hip for two years as well.

Simply put, there should be almost zero chemistry issues when Glasgow takes the field, regardless of where he lines up.

What’s Glasgow’s role?

Let’s start with his floor. After losing former swing/starter IOL Evan Brown to the Seahawks, Glasgow is his direct replacement, and arguably an upgrade. Offensive linemen get dinged up in the NFL and Glasgow should be, at a minimum, the top backup at all three interior spots.

As far as his ceiling, Glasgow has the potential to be the Lions' Day 1 starter at right guard. With current starting right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai's health in question—he missed all of last season with a back injury—and a bloated cap hit (just under $12.5M in 2023), it’s possible the Lions make a tough decision to move on. But even if Vaitai is healthy and the Lions are comfortable with his cap status, he will still have to hold off Glasgow, which will be a tall order.

Will the Lions continue to add to the position?

The Lions prefer to head into camp with 15 offensive linemen so that they can roll three lines through practices. At this time, Glasgow’s addition brings them up to 12 linemen—so they will likely be on the lookout to add three more players.

Now, it’s possible the Lions dip back into free agency to add another player or two, but history shows the Lions would likely prefer to add rookies into those roles. While the Lions typically add a few undrafted offensive linemen each offseason, looking for a diamond in the rough, there’s a real possibility the Lions draft a lineman—and potentially use a high pick to do so.

Glasgow is on a one-year deal, Vaitai’s situation still has a few obstacles to overcome, and the long-term depth still needs to prove itself. Add in the fact that Pro Bowl left guard Jonah Jackson is in the final year of his rookie contract and is headed for a big payday, and the Lions might want their 2024 starting right guard to be on a rookie contract to help keep costs low amongst the position group.

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