Key Lions Offensive Lineman Expecting ‘Healthy Market’ in Free Agency

Evan Brown

Getty Center Evan Brown calls out a play for the Lions in a 2022 game.

The Detroit Lions have some major decisions to make in free agency, and one of the biggest few could be talking about could play out along the offensive line.

One of the key players the team has seen emerge the last two years has been Evan Brown, a guard and center combo player up front. While Brown has not gotten the hype of some of his teammates, it’s clear the market might be noticing what he’s done.

Brown is poised to hit free agency, and when he does so, could expect a healthy market to develop. That’s according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston, who first revealed this news on Sunday, March 12.

“Lions guard-center Evan Brown is expected to have a healthy market, per league sources. Former SMU Football standout, four-year starter has positional versatility good size (6-3, 322) and plenty of tape for evaluators with 12 career starts at center and 12 at guard,” Wilson tweeted.

Brown has played well in Detroit, but he is not a starter for the team. That could show itself to be a situation where a different team blows him away with an offer and a bigger role, though he has been a key player for the Lions up front as a reserve.

Many might not have guessed the Lions’ reserve would be in-demand on the market, but that could be the case as the free agency market takes shape ahead of the start of the new league year.

Detroit Has Decision to Make With Evan Brown

The Lions have what most would typify as a loaded offensive line. The team has Frank Ragnow at center and Jonah Jackson at guard, blocking a pair of positions where Brown could play.

A big question revolves around if the team would let Vaitai walk, which hasn’t happened yet in spite of multiple pleas to make that the case to save money. If the team did let Vaitai go, they could replace him on the roster with Logan Stenberg.

Stenberg was a fourth-round pick of Detroit in 2020, and a player who was a first-team All-ACC selection for his work in 2019 as well as a second-team All-American at guard. In the NFL, Stenberg has played in 25 games with four starts, and showed himself as a potential replacement late in 2022.

Brown might not be the most popular choice for the team given he is a reserve, and with teams potentially circling to offer bigger money, the Lions could have to make a tough decision with him in the days ahead.

Evan Brown’s Career Stats & Highlights

The last few years, Brown has done a nice job filling in for the Lions along the offensive front. He has been dependable for the team, and stepped up in the face of injury to others.

After joining the team as an underrated option at center, the Lions watched Brown turn himself into a key reserve. He started this work in the 2021 preseason, where he played a whopping 154 snaps, most of any player as pointed out by Pro Football Focus at the time.

From there, Brown only got better. He had only played in 13 total career games coming to Detroit, but did have experience to rely on. For that reason, he could become popular during free agency. Brown was undrafred out of SMU in 2018, but ended up cracking the New York Giants roster in 2018 before being waived in 2019. He would go on to spend parts of 2020 with the Cleveland Browns before coming to Detroit in 2021.

The last two years, Brown showed himself as stable enough to make the team and play a reserve role for the Lions. He played in 14 games with 12 starts in 2022, and 16 games with 12 starts in 2021. That adds up to 41 games and 24 starts over the last two years.

Now, he will be able to get his first big chance in the league, potentially to cash in as a starter. It will be interesting to see if the Lions wish to keep him around.

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