Lions Urged to Steal 5-Year Veteran Guard From Division Rival

Dalton Risner

Getty Former Denver Broncos LG Dalton Risner looks on before a game against the Seattle Seahawks.

The Detroit Lions are expected to see some departures from the offensive line that paved the way for one of the league’s best offenses in 2023, but a report suggests they could look to a division rival for one key addition.

Christian Booher of suggested that the Lions could find some new help at offensive line in free agency, noting that Minnesota Vikings guard Dalton Risner could be a logical target. The five-year veteran, who has appeared in 77 career games, has reached the end of his one-year deal in Minnesota and could be an affordable target for the Lions if the Vikings pass on bringing him back, Booher wrote.

Lions Urged to Add Versatile Veteran

Booher noted that Risner has proven to be a solid interior lineman, especially as a pass blocker, and appears a logical target for a Lions team with a lot already invested in their offense.

“Risner has been a proven solid pass-blocker, allowing 87 career pressures on over 2,000 career pass-blocking snaps. In the run game, his performance has been up-and-down,” Booher wrote.

“Risner could be a more affordable option for the Lions if they lose a starter, and could also serve as veteran depth for the unit.”

Risner played the first four seasons of his career with the Denver Broncos, starting all 62 games there during his tenure.

Booher suggested other potential additions for the Lions this offseason, including Miami Dolphins lineman Robert Hunt. The writer noted that Hunt has been effective as a pass blocker, allowing just five total pressures last season and one sack, but has been held back by injuries.

Lions Could Lose Key Player

Detroit’s plans in free agency could depend on what the team decides for guard Jonah Jackson, who is set to become a free agent in March. Morgan Cannon of SB Nation’s Pride of Detroit suggested that Jackson could be Detroit’s “toughest decision” this offseason, especially as he is expected to fetch a contract that could be outside their price range.

Cannon noted that the Lions have already invested a lot in their offensive line, with tackle Taylor Decker carrying a $19 million cap hit in 2024 and center Frank Ragnow carrying a $12.8 million cap hit of his own. With Penei Sewell likely headed for a big extension within the next year, the Lions may not have what it takes to keep Jackson in the fold.

The team is already in talks with quarterback Jared Goff on an extension of his own, and Cannon noted that Jackson could be in high demand when he hits free agency, making him an expensive addition if the Lions want to bring him back.

“From Jackson’s perspective, he is 27 years old and coming off of a third-round rookie contract,” Cannon wrote. “In most cases, this is the time for a player to strike while the iron is hot. There may be a team out there that is looking to upgrade their left guard spot, and if they have plenty of money to throw at the problem, the Lions may quickly find themselves out of the running to retain Jackson’s services.”

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