Brad Holmes Praises Lions’ Additions, Teases More: ‘Work’s Not Done’

Brad Holmes

Getty Brad Holmes speaking during the 2022 NFL combine.

The Detroit Lions have enjoyed a big free agency period, and the focus for the team has mostly come on the defensive side of the football.

That was by design according to general manager Brad Holmes, who saw some major weaknesses on the roster and moved quickly to find upgrades and potential fixes as soon as the offseason was underway.

Speaking to the media at the NFL owners meetings on Monday, March 27, Holmes discussed his decision to add to the cornerback spot. As he said, the move was something which was a major need for the franchise at this point in time as it relates to their present and future on the field.

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“I told you guys at the end of the season that we’re going to add to our defense and we just needed to get better there. We’re just very young at that position, so to add some guys with some more experience, to add some guys with more versatility. We just want to get better there, and we still got some young guys that are growing, but obviously, that was our emphasis and it will continue to be,” Holmes told the media.

While the Lions have already added plenty, the team continues to operate with much cap room, around $24 million according to reports. That could leave them in position to find more deals in the days ahead on the market.

Holmes admitted to liking the way the offseason has shaped up, but as he said, the Lions still have some work to do, and their shopping might not be over with. Then comes the NFL draft in April.

“So far, so good. We still have some more work to do with free agency, obviously the draft coming up, but even with free agency, the work’s not done yet,” he said. “You might see a name or two still pop up possibly before the draft but obviously, as you guys know, roster construction, roster management is non-stop, around the clock. We’ll just keep working, but so far, so good.”

The reason Holmes believes that to be the case? The trio of players he has been able to sign early during the free agency process.

Brad Holmes Praises Cam Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley

The deals the Lions did get done were at cornerback, and struck early on in the free agency negotiation process. In both Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley, the Lions got players that not only fit their culture but their roster.

Specifically as it relates to Sutton, Holmes said that the cornerback was a name he could no longer ignore in free agency, as it was one that simply kept popping up during the process thanks to his fantastic attributes. That made him a great fit for the team’s locker room.

“Cam Sutton just kept popping up and kept resurfacing, kept being the topic of conversation throughout our meetings, so (we’re) very, very happy that we got it done,” Holmes said. “I told you guys probably back at the combine that regardless of how much money that we spend, we’re always going to look for the right guys. We’re always going to look for the right fit. Cam along with (Emmanuel) Moseley and all those other guys, he was identified as the right guy.”

While Moseley may not have cone with the bigger-name pedigree that many of Detroit’s other early signings had, that doesn’t mean he is short on game. The Lions may have managed to get a fantastic value according to Holmes thanks mostly to his Week 5 ACL injury.

“Moseley was another one that just fit our style. He’s another kid that’s got versatility. You can play outside, you can play inside. If Moseley didn’t get hurt last year, I don’t even know if we would have been able to really even be in the range to even acquire him. That’s how hot a start that he was off to,” Holmes admitted.

When the Lions insert this duo into their backfield, they can feel good about the players that they did add to the mix, especially Moseley being the team was able to get him on a bargain relative to what he could offer them.

Brad Holmes Likes C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s Fit

A week later, the Lions caught a break. Veteran C.J. Gardner-Johnson was still on the market. While the Lions had made a splash in their secondary, Holmes kept checking in on the elite defensive back.

As he explained, Gardner-Johnson is the kind of player that Holmes knew could elevate his defense. So he kept calling his agent and reaching out. Perhaps surprisingly, a deal was eventually reached.

“I saw the grades and the ball production, all that. (Thinking) this guy’s probably getting top safety money. We’re just not going to be in that market,” Holmes said. “Probably midway through the week, I just kept following up with his agent. My ride home, usually that’s my decompression space, but I just kept calling, just kind of just checking in and saying ‘hey man what’s going on.’ It just kept escalating, escalating and then it escalated all the way up until Friday. We had a good conversation. Saturday we followed up again just internally as a group and then Sunday morning when it was just another one of those routine calls, it just happened to escalate until we kind of got in a position we could get it done.”

Why was the move made for Gardner-Johnson? As Holmes explained, he’s not only a potential game-changer for the offense, but a player who has set the bar for the franchise in terms of a perfect fit for the team and the franchise. Holmes admitted he was happy just to land him in the end.

“He’s always been a guy that’s I don’t want to say the example, but we knew that that was the fit of what we’re trying to bring in. You see, he’s a real dog and he’s another guy that’s a smart football player so again, he was another one that we didn’t know if it was going to happen or not, but, we were fortunate enough that the market came to a place that we were able to make it happen,” he explained.

Between Gardner-Johnson and his new running mates, it’s clear the Lions have the making of a very solid group on the back end. A solid start for a very important offseason for the team.

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