Yesterday, the Detroit Free Press published a list of several veteran free agents that were still available on the open market. To say the list was a bit underwhelming would be a vast understatement.
Fortunately, unlike years past, the Detroit Lions’ roster looks relatively solid in most spots, meaning the need for a once-big name band-aid around training camp might not be as great as it has been recently.
Once upon a time, Lions’ fans would scan the free agent scrap heap dreaming that a cast off from an already stacked roster could step in and make an impact in Detroit. Now, the Lions actually possess several difference makers of their own, meaning the only way they are likely to consider such a player is for depth or if an unfortunate injury should strike a key position.
Martin Mayhew is fond of saying that he is always aggressively looking to update the roster, but as it stands now, there might be nothing available that is better than what Detroit currently has at their disposal.
What three players mentioned in the article could—and the heavy emphasis is on could—help the Lions if need be?
1. Ed Reed, S. This would likely be a familiarity only signing for the Lions if there was a devastating injury in the secondary at some point during camp and emergency struck. Reed worked with Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin in Baltimore, so as a result, both parties would likely know what to expect from one another from a scheme perspective which could help. Still, Reed is an old 36, and has plenty of miles on the tires, meaning the Lions might do just as well with a younger body in the rotation.
2. Asante Samuel, CB. Detroit has had their chance at adding an experienced cornerback several times this offseason and passed, but if injury strikes the position, they may be left with no choice but to gamble on a bigger name veteran like Samuel. Without Chris Houston and with several younger players in the fold, the group may need someone to tie everything together, making a signing like Samuel, a veteran who has a playoff pedigree, an outside possibility.
3. Santonio Holmes, WR. Considering the additions of Golden Tate and Eric Ebron as well as the re-signing of Kevin Ogletree and drafting of T.J. Jones, the need for a wide receiver is slim to none for Detroit right now. If a few players were to get injured though, wouldn’t it be nice to replace them with a former Super Bowl MVP and a player no stranger to the playoffs? Still, Holmes is a major injury risk himself at 30, and hasn’t aged well at all. Those are sizable red flags despite some obvious talent.
As far as free agency is concerned now, that’s about it. As always, the hope will be that the Lions stay healthy through training camp. If new free agent names present themselves as camp wears on, count on Mayhew to remain committed to his aggressive roster approach.