As the Detroit Lions have gotten their offseason going and made plenty of moves, a big question is how the team should be graded for what they have been able to do in preparation for 2022.
Many fans think the Lions haven’t been aggressive enough in pursuing players on the outside, but some of the analysts aren’t sure they agree with that assessment, which proves the Lions could actually be better than many folks might expect given what they’ve done.
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That’s what the experts seem to think as well. Recently, the Bleacher Report staff took a closer look at some consensus grades for every team in free agency. When it came to the Lions, the team had a few average marks but one solid mark that boosted their entire class rating as a whole.
Writers Gary Davenport and Brent Sobleski gave Detroit a C+ for what they did thus far in free agency. Maurice Moton gave the team a B, which brought the consensus grade up to a B- overall for 2022. In terms of the reasoning, it was written in the piece by Davenport that the Lions made a few sound additions while getting rid of a bad contract in Trey Flowers.
“Detroit didn’t chase after big names on the free-agent market. Nonetheless, the team deserves kudos for adding and retaining quality talent without breaking the bank,” it says in the piece.
Overall, this was the highest grade in the division, with the Lions leading Chicago and Green Bay (D+) as well as Minnesota (C+). That could lead to the team being better than many expect in 2022 if they can nail the NFL draft as they did in 2021.
Not too bad a mark for the Lions in the free agency period all things considered.
Grade Feels Fair for What Lions Have Done
The Lions haven’t set the world on fire with their moves given many have not been of the dramatic variety out of the gates, but they have been solid and sound regardless. The Lions have focused on keeping around players that they think believe in the system and fit it well. In terms of outside additions, the Lions have gone modest there as well, choosing to focus on signing younger and hungry players who may only be looking for rehabilitation deals or short-term contracts. DJ Chark, Mike Hughes, Chris Board and Jarrad Davis all fit a similar profile as younger players who have motivations that Detroit added on short term deals.
Nobody will give the Lions an A grade for doing deals like this, but they were very sensible ones for Detroit and a good way for the team to build up the depth of their roster. To this end, there isn’t much reason at all for anyone to gripe about a B- grade for the team.
What Lions Could Do Next This Offseason
It’s fair to expect the Lions to have another round of moves that help to boost up the team’s defense, even if the signings aren’t big-ticket items or name plays. Detroit managed to see some of their middle-tier plays in free agency pay off during the 2021 season, so the expectation for the team should be for more of that to continue this coming year. The more players the Lions sign to boost their depth, the better off the team could be. The Lions struggled with players filling roles in 2021, so the more players they have to fill out their depth for next season the better. Help at linebacker, safety, defensive line and cornerback could all be had in free agency ahead of some longer-term fixes in the NFL draft in a month.
Fans could be upset that the Lions have not been bigger spenders so far, but in the minds of some, it’s a reasonable-sized win that the team has been prudent with their deals and not elected to spend bigger this offseason.
That could help set the team up better for the future when all is said and done, and while many have been frustrated with the team’s perceived inaction, this shows that the Lions might deserve better grades when all is said and done than many think.