NFL: Lions Search for Missing Pieces in Free Agency

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
Detroit Lions Sport News


  • The official start to NFL free agency is Monday, March 11 at noon.
  • After reaching the NFC Championship game last season, the Lions have a lot of potential free agents and a few holes to fill.
  • Downtown Detroit hosts the NFL Draft April 25-27.

Boosted by a once-in-a-generation draft, the Detroit Lions had the Super Bowl in their sights, only to see it all fall apart in the second half of the NFC Championship Game in San Francisco.

The fact that the Chiefs would beat the Niners in Super Bowl 58 - the Chiefs! A team the Lions beat in the first week of the season - didn’t help ease the sting of that loss.

The Lions have almost their full complement of picks in the NFL Draft, but can also start making moves in free agency in two weeks. They have multiple free agents they can sign.

Michigan Sportsbooks are still roaring about the Lions. Caesars and DraftKings list them as the fifth pick to win the Super Bowl 59 in New Orleans next year each at +1200. Both sportsbooks already have odds posted on the draft. DraftKings has a special on what position the player will be that the Lions draft first. Caesars Sportsbook has a market on who the first overall pick will be, USC quarterback Caleb Williams is -2000 to go No. 1.

The Right Free Agency Approach 

Lions fans have to understand that you can’t get everyone you want in NFL free agency and there has to be a combined strategy when it comes to the NFL Draft and free agency. Even though its early, you know the Lions probably have a sense of what positions they are looking for in the Draft.

So then it works in tandem, if you’re Lions GM Brad Holmes and you know you’re going O-line in the Draft, you don’t want to spend that time and money in free agency.

In the NFL, every team needs offensive linemen. Period. The Lions must make a decision on resigning guard Jonah Jackson, and they can explore the market. But the battle for every above-average offensive lineman will be fierce.

A New Quarterback in Town? 

One position with an obvious need is back-up quarterback for the Lions. Veteran QB Teddy Bridgewater has retired to coach high school football. The Lions drafted Hendon Hooker last year, and he’s a prospect.

Lions QB Jared Goff has been remarkably healthy in his Lions career, but this is a team built to win in 2024. They don’t want to be the 2023 Jets, who went Aaron Rodgers went down, literally had no Plan B. It would be wise for the Lions to have an experienced veteran as Goff’s main back-up, because I don’t think you’d trust Hooker in this spot.

There are some interesting ideas out there. Sam Darnold is a free agent after last year with San Francisco. Tyrod Taylor has been a starter with the Bills and Giants. Ryan Tannehill is done now with the Titans. He may want to be a starter, or he may see Detroit as a great chance to win a ring.

Make a Big Splash? No. Make a Smart Move 

Fans get annoyed during NFL free agency when they see other teams make signings every day, bringing in talented players. But seriously, how many big free agent signings really transform a team? Last year, Jalen Ramsey was traded to Miami from the Rams in a big deal. The Dolphins made the playoffs and were beat in first round. Did the Chiefs sign a big free agent last year? No, they mostly kept the guys they had - including Chris Jones.

If there is a player the Lions really like in a position of need (I think secondary) is available, the Lions should make a move, but free agency is usually fools’ gold. Teams win the narrative for the day, spend some money, but it doesn’t always work out.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.