Lions Encouraged to Consider Signing Ex-Top 10 QB to Compete With Hendon Hooker

Dan Campbell Hendon Hooker Ryan Tannehill

Getty SI.com's All Lions' Christian Booher argued that Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions should consider signing veteran Ryan Tannehill to compete with inexperienced quarterback Hendon Hooker.

Even without Teddy Bridgewater, who retired to begin his coaching career, the Detroit Lions have depth at quarterback in Hendon Hooker. But with the Lions entering a Super Bowl or bust season in 2024, the question is will Detroit trust a quarterback who has never played an NFL down to be the guy if Jared Goff suffers a serious injury. SI.com’s All Lions’ Christian Booher argued that if the answer to that question is no, then Detroit should consider targeting veteran Ryan Tannehill in free agency.

“Over his career, Tannehill has made the postseason in four of his seasons and has amassed a total of 151 starts,” Booher wrote. “His production tailed off in 2023, as he threw just four touchdowns against seven interceptions in eight starts.

“If the Lions are looking for a backup quarterback with lots of experience, Tannehill fits that bill.”

Tannehill began his career as the No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft for the Miami Dolphins. Although he’s won a playoff game in just one season, he has never finished a regular season worse than two games below .500 in his career.

In 2023, Tannehill went 3-5 as a starter. He posted a 64.8% completion percentage and averaged 7 yards per attempt in 10 games with the Tennessee Titans.


What Ryan Tannehill Would Bring to the Lions

The Lions brass have had nothing but good things to say about Hooker. Despite the former Tennessee Volunteers quarterback suffering a major knee injury in November 2022, the Lions drafted him in the third round of the 2023 NFL draft.

Lions head coach Dan Campbell referred to 2023 as “a redshirt season” for Hooker last May. But with Hooker completely healthy going into 2024, the team likely wants the young quarterback’s development to begin.

Signing a quarterback to sit ahead of Hooker on the depth chart, though, won’t help his development.

Third-string signal callers have a hard time receiving practice time. Although that’s likely changed some in more recent years, No. 3 quarterbacks are known more to run the practice squad offense against the No. 1 defense than to receive real practice reps.

Therefore, making Hooker the team’s third quarterback could potentially stunt his growth.

Then again, it’s understandable if the Lions don’t trust Hooker as their No. 2 signal caller. That would put him just a Goff injury away from starting.

Hooker hasn’t played in any kind of game since November 19, 2022 and that was at the college level.

Signing Tannehill would give the Lions another former first-round pick with experience behind Goff. Tannehill has started 151 career games in his career. He has won more games than Bridgewater started.

Tannehill’s best seasons came in 2020 and 2021 with the Titans. He led Tennessee to a 23-10 record during those two campaigns.

In 2019, Tannehill finished first in the NFL with 9.6 yards per attempt and won the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award.


Lions to Sign QB in Preseason Again?

Last year, the Lions entered training camp with four quarterbacks, two of which were Goff and Hooker. However, the other two were not the team’s eventual backup for 2023 — Nate Sudfeld and Adrian Martinez.

First, the Lions assessed their quarterback situation in training camp and early in the preseason last year. Then, the team decided to bring in Bridgewater to backup Goff.

The Lions will certainly bring in other quarterbacks for depth to begin the 2024 offseason. But it would make sense for the Lions not to sign anyone who would seriously challenge Hooker for practice repetitions.

That way, Hooker will receive all the practice opportunities behind Goff the entire offseason. Then, the Lions can determine if the 26-year-old is ready to be the team’s No. 2 quarterback.

If he isn’t, then the Lions could explore the quarterback market.

Should the Lions deploy that strategy, though, Tannehill is probably not a realistic target for Detroit. Tannehill could receive interest from teams to compete for a starting job in 2024.

At the very least, Tannehill will likely sign with a team well before August to be a backup.

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