The Detroit Lions have had a busy offseason, and have had an easy plan to identify when looking at their work. To this point, it’s been about signing as many former New England Patriots players as possible.
Those decisions aren’t popular with some in the media. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell is ranking every offseason that has taken place across the league, and the Lions have placed extremely low. Barnwell had the Lions placing 29th in terms of their NFL competition. Barnwell was critical of the Detroit approach of going after former Patriots, saying the team is too reliant on someone else’s identity.
As for what the team could have done differently, it is as simple as avoiding signing members of the Patriots, something the team didn’t do.
“Resisted the urge to go after as many former Patriots as possible. The Collins deal is a mess, and under Belichick, the Patriots have exhibited the ability to develop players such as Shelton and Harmon into useful contributors. Patricia and Quinn are trying to buy them instead. If the Lions couldn’t trade down in the first round, they should have used their second-rounder on a position that’s tougher to fill than halfback.”
Detroit didn’t make a trade in the draft early on, and are depending on former Patriots to lead the turnaround. Whether or not all of this pays off will be decided on the field no matter what is written.
Another NFL Analyst Bashed Lions Offseason
ESPN analyst Kevin Seifert had a similar complaint about the Detroit offseason a few months back. In a piece breaking down some of the winners and losers of the free agency period, the Lions were identified as a loser, particularly because of their reliance on Patriots players.
Here’s a look at what Seifert wrote as a critique on the Lions approach:
“Meanwhile, the Lions — led by two former Patriots staffers in general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia — guaranteed linebacker Jamie Collins $18 million, while also agreeing to terms with defensive tackle Danny Shelton and trading for defensive back Duron Harmon.
This isn’t so much a comment on the players themselves, but on the cockeyed and still unproven idea that there is some kind of magic sauce that comes with someone who has been in the Patriots’ program. Why can’t we just acknowledge that Patriots coach Bill Belichick has built a unique set of circumstances that routinely maximizes players in ways that aren’t likely to be replicated elsewhere? As a matter of team-building, giving an edge to people with a Patriots connection probably could cloud out more qualified candidates. Just stop it!”
In addition to the Lions, the Miami Dolphins were named as a loser for the same reason. Clearly, Matt Patricia is trying to institute his culture, and it will be interesting to see if this massive transplant ends up working for the team in 2020.
Ultimately, that will be how things are judged in the end, regardless of how many people are frustrated with the approach.
Lions Free Agency Signings
The Lions have reached reported free agency agreements with offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai, linebacker Jamie Collins, quarterback Chase Daniel and defensive lineman Nick Williams. Additionally, they’ve added Danny Shelton, Desmond Trufant and Jayron Kearse. They signed linebacker Reggie Ragland and Elijah Lee as well as wideout Geronimo Allison. Cornerback Darryl Roberts has been added as well. Duron Harmon is coming in via trade. The group upgrades some important spots on the team, and will help the Lions boost the spots that are most needed for 2020. The Lions have managed to get things going quickly and effectively this offseason in free agency to be able to try and reshape their team.
The Lions might be losers on paper to some, and the reasoning is as simple as the type of players they signed and where they came from.