The Detroit Lions have been taking all kinds of swings in free agency this month. They’ve added three very good secondary pieces, the best running back on the market and they even added a long snapper. They did all of this on top of returning some key pieces from last year's team.
Now what? Are the Lions done? Some of the things they’ve done recently show that they may still be in the market for players. On Monday, they renegotiated Romeo Okwara’s contract to open up about $9 million in cap space. This comes after re-working the contracts of Charles Harris, Tracy Walker, and Jack Fox as well.
If the Lions still plan to make some moves, here are four players that I think are worth making those moves on:
WR DJ Chark
Let’s start by bringing another Lion back home. Chark has been flirting with the Panthers a lot lately, but no moves have been made. These two parties are still just friend zoning each other. There’s still time for the ex to come back into the picture and win over Chark.
Romantic comedy tropes aside, the Lions should really try to get Chark back for the 2023 season. He’s by far the best receiver available right now due to his youth and there’s already a chemistry there with Jared Goff and the Lions offense as a whole. I know the belief is that Jameson Williams will step up and take that the spot from Chark., but we don’t really know what Williams is yet. Why not bring back Chark while you figure it out?
DT Poona Ford
The Lions need help on the interior of their defensive line. It’s a spot that they haven’t touched since free agency started. Maybe it’s because they feel comfortable with the group they have already. Maybe it’s because they plan to attack this the defensive line in a draft that’s stocked with good defensive linemen.
If they’re looking in the free agency department, Poona Ford is likely the best remaining option. The 27-year-old defensive tackle had something of a rough season with the Seahawks last year. While he recorded a career-high three sacks, he posted low numbers everywhere else. His 35 total tackles was lowest since 2019, and his PFF grade of 56.2 was worst in his five-year career.
But last year seemed to be an exception to the rule. Through the first four years of his career, Ford has been one of the best interior run defenders in the game. Detroit’s run defense struggled for the majority of the 2022 season, and Ford’s addition would undoubtedly help.
Ford seems primed for the type of contract the Lions have liked to hand out during the Holmes regime: the prove-it deal. Ford needs to prove he can still do it at a high level and the Lions need a linemen that can help out while they presumably groom a rookie for the future. The two sides are perfect for each other.
S P.J. Williams
The Lions have grabbed a lot of great secondary help in free agency so far. Much like the fact that there is no rule that a dog can’t play basketball, there’s no rule that says the Lions have to stop adding talent in the secondary.
Like the recently added C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Williams has ties to the Lions coaching staff. Williams has spent his entire career with the Saints. That, of course ,means he’s worked with Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn for good amount of his career. Williams is a guy that can help give the Lions depth at safety. Depth is something this team needs after losing Deshon Elliott, and in case Tracy Walker doesn’t return back to the player he was before his injury. Williams can be a short-term addition to help with that problem.
WR Miles Boykin
Can I take a swing here? Hear me out. This is a bit of project for the Lions. Miles Boykin is a 6-foot-4 receiver that has a lot of athleticism, but has had a hard time catching on in his career after the Ravens took him in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He’s dealt with injuries and been in offenses that failed to utilize him properly. Sometimes it’s not as much about the player, but the poor circumstances they’ve been in.
The Lions have a history of coaching players up and helping them have the best run of their careers. Here is another opportunity to do that. The Lions receiving corps may seem fleshed out already, but they aren’t as deep as it may seem, especially if they wind up losing DJ Chark to another team. Boykin can come in on the super cheap end and maybe find himself a spot in the NFL. It’s definitely worth looking into for his size and athleticism alone.