The Detroit Lions have suffered through a miserable 2019 season on the field, and as a result of that, there figures to be some dramatic changes on the roster for 2020.
As part of the final games of the season, teams get a chance to re-rack the roster and evaluate some players who are on the bubble. Obviously, there are no shortage of players who the team could be looking to evaluate, and perhaps jettison after this evaluation.
Here’s a look at some of the names which could be on the move in the new year.
Taylor Decker, Lions T
Bob Quinn’s first draft pick from 2016 has run hot and cold in Detroit. While Decker has been a decent piece, he hasn’t been the transformational lineman the Lions probably hoped for. There’s been a ton of change in Detroit up front the last few years, and it will be interesting to see if Quinn commits to more time with Decker, or if the Lions look elsewhere and try to start over at tackle. Decker has youth on his side, but this is a big decision for the franchise to make.
A’Shawn Robinson, Lions DT
Robinson is slated to be a free agent come March, and the Lions might decide when all is said and done to move on from him. He’s struggled with consistency since being a second round pick of the team, and the Lions have plenty of pieces at defensive tackle and might want to bring a few more in. That could open the team up to make a change away from Robinson up front. He never quite lived up to his billing, and it will be interesting to see if the team moves on as they could be expected to do, or if they elect to give him another shot as a home grown talent. The bet is the Lions will make an upgrade along the defensive front, squeezing someone like Robinson out of the picture.
Tavon Wilson, Lions S
As it relates to Wilson, it’s not a question of fit or play, but rather direction. Detroit has drafted Tracy Walker and Will Harris at safety the last few years, and probably want to move towards those players being the future at the position. Wilson can probably keep playing if the Lions need him to, but he will be a free agent and Detroit might want to keep getting younger at safety. It might be wise to assume the team will look elsewhere at safety on the market if they need a veteran who can play a role and chip in. The big advantage Wilson does offer is age as well as experience with Matt Patricia if the team does wish to bring him back on a short deal.
Rick Wagner, Lions T
At the other tackle position, Wagner is a veteran player who signed a massive contract a few years back, but has hardly lived up to it completely. Wagner has been injured and had issues with health, durability and consistency opposite Decker. It’s extremely unlikely the Lions will start over completely at both tackle spots in 2020, but there is a possible out in Wagner’s deal and given his cap hit will be $11.9 million next season. The Lions might very well look to move on here and spend the money elsewhere. That’s especially true if they stick with Decker on the other side.
Damon Harrison, Lions DT
The Lions brought Harrison to town for a fifth round pick in 2018, and he helped change the fortunes of their run defense up front in a major way. 2019 hasn’t been kind to either Harrison or Detroit’s run defense, however. Harrison hasn’t put up the type of numbers he is accustomed to, while Detroit has been pushed around in the trenches in more than a few games. Does this mean changes are in order? Harrison is on the books for two more years at $11.7 million dollars, and it’s clear he can still be a solid option when completely healthy. Do the Lions elect to mix things up and jettison him before he gets a bit older? It’s always a possibility for the team to cut a higher priced player, especially if the team drafts a defensive lineman high in April.