While many might not see the 3-13-1 Detroit Lions as a top free agency destination, it’s been clear for a while that the team could be building something special for the future, boosted by their new-look coaching staff and front office.
With the offseason set to get into full swing in the days ahead, the time has almost come for the team to start making free agency moves. Luring players to Detroit might not have been an easy task in the past, but Brad Holmes thinks he can offer something a little extra now in terms of major hope for the future.
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Holmes joined Good Morning Football ahead of the NFL combine, and was asked by Peter Schrager what his pitch would be for free agents considering the Lions. As Holmes explained, there’s been a methodical approach that could soon take off and pay massive dividends for anyone who decides to buy-in.
“Dan (Campbell) and I had a plan in place from the get-go. We took some lumps early on. You stared to see that plan come clear at the end part of the season,” Holmes told Schrager. “What we can definitely offer is an outstanding culture. We have a culture of collaboration and communication. We’re all about grit. We have a multi-year plan in place. We just have a outstanding head coach. Dan is special. We got great leadership from the top. I tell everybody look, if you don’t want to be a part of this, good luck, because it’s going to be a fun ride when we get this thing going.”
That fun ride is coming soon as Holmes sees it, which makes this pitch very interesting. The Lions are likely going to be aggressive in free agency trying to patch numerous holes on defense. Essentially, he is issuing a solid warning to the class. Hop in now and get set to enjoy some great times, or be forced to live with regret on the outside looking in.
Holmes: Lions All About Giving Players a Chance
One of the hallmarks of the 2021 Lions was the fact that the team saw plenty of contributors rise from obscurity to make a name for themselves. Names like outstanding pass rusher Charles Harris, wideouts Kalif Raymond and Josh Reynolds, gritty runner Godwin Igwebuike and rookie undrafred free agent defensive backs like Jerry Jacobs and AJ Parker all made their mark. That was by design in the mind of Holmes, who said he is going to continue to push for players to get a chance to build the roster from anywhere and everywhere.
“Dan and I talked about it a lot last year when we brought guys in. We’re like, ‘if you want an opportunity to play, we’re going to give anybody any opportunity to play.’ I don’t care where you come from. I don’t care where you’re drafted at, how much money you’re making, undrafted free agents. Our coaches, they have a passion to develop. They’re true teachers. It’s a phenomenal staff. It’s just a great place to play. We’re going to have this build going and it’s going to get better and better,” Holmes said in the interview.
The Lions will continue to let the best players win jobs on their team, and will continue to let those battles decide themselves in camp and on the field. Truthfully, it might be the strongest way to build this roster for the future and the present.
Lions Offseason Primer for 2022
So where will the Lions begin to look for upgrades when the work gets going? For starters, the team will have to think about adding some offensive weapons to the mix. Detroit’s wideout group has lagged behind because of a lack of depth most of all in 2021, so making sure a top-flight wideout comes into the mix via trade or signing to help Jared Goff might be the top priority for the team. From there, the Lions need to think about bolstering the defense. Help could be needed up front and on the back end and potentially at linebacker as well.
In his first offseason, Holmes shied away from bigger deals, focusing instead on smaller deals to help supplement his roster. Several of those deals have panned out, from names like Kalif Raymond to Charles Harris. The same approach could be expected this offseason, so the Lions might make one or two bigger splashes while choosing to focus on multiple other smaller splashes to help supplement things and build the depth of the team.
During the draft, the Lions can be expected to want to patch holes that they have not addressed capably in free agency. These include the defensive line, wide receiver and perhaps linebacker, safety and quarterback. The extra first-round pick will give them some wiggle room as it relates to what to do.
Detroit seems to be on the cusp of something good, and Holmes wants everyone to know it. If you’re a target of the Lions, get on board, because the fun might only just be getting started.