The Detroit Lions are entering a phase where they will either begin to rebuild, restructure or retool their roster depending on the word of choice, and the biggest question left to answer is how might they decide to get that done?
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, 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.
Chris Spielman on 97.1 talking free agency vs. draft: You can't buy a locker room. Better to build though the draft, add pieces in FA when foundation is built through the draft.
— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) February 23, 2021
The Lions might not have a ton of money with which to operate this offseason, so some well-placed free agency buys would theoretically be a huge help to go with a more aggressive approach in the draft. This will be welcome news for fans who have wanted to see the team do this in the past.
Lions Free Agency Approach Has Been Different
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, 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 could still be reasonably active in free agency, but with a limited amount of cap space, the Lions could be more active with the draft this year. Compared to what they’ve tried to do in the past, this is a bit of a change for the team.
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Lions Free Agency Needs
The Lions have some big time needs in free agency to address this season that could take a fair bit of money to address. First and foremost, the team has to decide what to do at wide receiver, where they could pick up Kenny Golladay on the franchise tag and keep him around. Whether they do that or not, the Lions could use another wideout given Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola are moving on. Additionally, the Lions need help along their defensive front and at linebacker. They could also decide they need another running back to help the young players out as they had last year with Adrian Peterson.
All of this combines to likely ensure the Lions are not huge players in the market, but they should have enough money to operate comfortably when all is said and done given the change that is expected on the roster.
Even though that is the case, Detroit will figure to do their heaviest lifting through the draft.