Galling Stat Proves Why Lions Must Build Through NFL Draft

Lions NFL Draft

Getty The Lions make their pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Detroit Lions have tried building a team multiple ways through the last few decades, but they have failed in a major way to build anything consistently through the draft.

As a result of that, the team has tried to patch more holes in free agency through the years, being very active, the Lions have signed some big-name players, but it’s hardly worked out for the franchise as some glaring new numbers prove.

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In a recent Football Morning in America piece for NBC Sports, Peter King took a closer look at free agency and explained that there have been some interesting teams spending lots of money in the last three seasons. That spending, though, hasn’t translated directly to wins on the field.

“Per the website Over The Cap, here are the five teams that spent the most in free agency from 2017-20, with the composite spending and their regular-season records over the period:

Jacksonville, $494.1 million, 22-42.
N.Y. Jets, $463.0 million, 18-46.
Buffalo, $457.1 million, 38-26.
Detroit, $444.7 million, 23-41.
Cleveland, $436.2 million, 24-39-1.”

Obviously, a 23-41 record isn’t going to be indicative of much success at all, so it’s good to see the Lions open about changing course and hiring Brad Holmes as well as a quality scouting staff. It’s safe to say that approach could make the difference in the end for the team trying to change the narrative.

Detroit has chased the big names in free agency before, but with less success. It only makes sense they are trying to figure out a new way to operate given this fact.

Lions 2021 Free Agency Approach Changed

Recent history will show that the Lions have been much more set on trying to improve their roster with free agency splashes rather than a draft heavy strategy. Recent offseasons have seen Detroit shell out the cash for veteran players such as Trey Flowers, Justin Coleman and Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Even before that, the Lions were plenty active, signing names such as Reggie Bush, Golden Tate, Az Hakim, Bill Schroeder and others. Not every move worked out and led to more winning on the field, which could be the reason for the shift from the team moving forward.

Detroit has still been reasonably active in free agency, but with a limited amount of cap space, the Lions could be more active with the draft this year and have looked to shell out cheaper, shorter-term contracts than the longer ones top options command. All of that likely has to do with this fact that King dropped.

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Chris Spielman Hinted Lions Pulling Back Within Free Agency

Through the years, the Lions have tried hard to spend money on band-aids for their roster, and have found winning just as tough. Rarely have they committed to a draft heavy strategy, but with a new front office in tow, it looks like there could be a change on the horizon.

Speaking with WXYT 97.1 The Ticket earlier this offseason, Chris Speilman explained what kind of approach the Lions might target this offseason. As he said, the team is interested in building a culture, and as Speilman said, he believes the best way to do that is through the draft.

Stats like the one presented above show why Spielman and the Lions brass seem committed to finding a new way to do business. The Lions haven’t built a culture because it constantly changes. Finding a way to alter that should be a huge goal moving forward for the franchise.

Finally, it seems as if it’s not lip service that the Lions are trying to change.

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