Lions Urged to Bring Back Veteran QB for Important Role

Nate Sudfeld

Getty Nate Sudfeld playing in a 2023 game for the Lions vs. Chicago.

The Detroit Lions have a stable quarterback room heading into the 2024 season, with Jared Goff cemented as the starter and second-year Hendon Hooker expected to move into the backup spot after a rookie season spent recovering from injury.

But the retirement of veteran Teddy Bridgewater has left a gap in veteran leadership that one insider believes could be filled by bringing back a familiar face. Jeremy Reisman of SB Nation’s Pride of Detroit suggests that re-signing veteran Nate Sudfeld is a “no-brainer” decision for the Lions, giving the team a steady hand as an emergency quarterback who can also help with Hooker’s development.

Injury Setback for Nate Sudfeld

As Reisman noted, Sudfeld entered the 2023 preseason with expectations that he would serve as the emergency quarterback behind Goff and Bridgewater while Hooker recovered from a torn ACL suffered in his final season at Tennessee. But Sudfeld also went down with an injury, tearing his ACL in the team’s final preseason game and missing the entire season.

Sudfeld remained on injured reserve throughout the season, but Reisman noted that he was close to the team facility at times between rehab at his home in Oregon. The Lions ultimately brought back David Blough, their onetime starter, to serve as the No. 3 until Hooker returned late in the season.

The Lions will have an opening in their quarterback room as both Bridgewater and Blough retired to join the coaching ranks, and Reisman suggested Sudfeld could fill the gap.

“Sudfeld may not have a ton of playing experience (six game appearances and no career starts), but he’s been in the NFL since 2016,” Reisman wrote. “He’s clearly carved out a role in the professional ranks as a valued consultant. He also has two years of knowledge in offensive coordinator Ben Johnson’s offense, and, most importantly, Goff values him.”

Lions Planning Another Big Move at Quarterback

The Lions face another important decision at the top of the quarterback depth chart, with the team working on a long-term extension for Goff.

Goff has turned in three of his best seasons in the NFL since joining the Lions in 2021, throwing for 12,258 yards with 78 touchdowns and 27 interceptions in 48 games. He came up even bigger in the 2023 season, finishing second in the league in passing yards (4,575) and fourth in touchdown passes (30) while leading the Lions to their first NFC Championship game appearance in 30 years.

Goff said he would like to sign a long-term deal.

“I’ve loved every second of my time here, and would love more,” Goff said, via Fox Sports. “I love Dan [Campbell], I love the coaches and all my teammates. Yeah, it would be great. But it’s not up to me.”

It would likely require a significant financial commitment on the part of Detroit. Joel Corry of CBS Sports predicted that Goff would top the contract given to the player he was traded for in 2021, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.

“Goff could soon be laughing all the way to the bank,” Corry wrote. “The good outing against the Rams [in the playoffs] ensures that a new Goff deal should surpass Matthew Stafford’s 2022 extension. Stafford signed a four-year, $160 million extension averaging $40 million per year, which currently puts him in a tie with quarterbacks Daniel Jones (Giants) and Dak Prescott (Cowboys) as the league’s 10th-highest-paid player. The deal has $135 million of guarantees, of which $63 million was fully guaranteed at signing.”

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