Which Detroit Lions free agent was the spring MVP?

ALLEN PARK, MI - MAY 10: Detroit Lions hold their first day of Rookie Camp on May 10, 2013 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
ALLEN PARK, MI - MAY 10: Detroit Lions hold their first day of Rookie Camp on May 10, 2013 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

After signing an impressive haul of free agents, which of the newest Detroit Lions was named the most impressive this spring by an insider?

The t-shirt and shorts Olympics. That’s the nickname for NFL organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp due to the distinct lack of pads or live contact. For the Detroit Lions, their spring training sessions are now over. And most are heading for vacation prior to the start of training camp next month.

But for a Lions’ team that made several changes this offseason, OTAs and minicamp were still very revealing. It was the first time fans and the media alike got to see some of Detroit’s newest pieces on the field. And we all got a preview of how the puzzle will fit together come September.

This spring was especially exciting because of the bigger names that were added to the roster via both the draft and free agency. Selecting a tight end with the eighth overall pick in the draft, all eyes were on Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson early. Second round rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai also garnered an audience as many believed the Lions reached for his selection.

Several big named free agents came to Detroit this offseason. Former Patriots like defensive end Trey Flowers, cornerback Justin Coleman and wide receiver Danny Amendola were added to the roster in part to change the culture in Motown. Other free agent adds included tight end Jesse James, offensive guard Oday Aboushi, cornerback Rashaan Melvin and running back C.J. Anderson.

But out of all the new faces, which one might be considered this spring’s MVP? Here’s how DetroitLions.com’s Tim Twentyman responded on the team’s official website when ask which player impressed him the most this offseason …

"” … I was really impressed with Amendola. The guy goes 110 percent all the time. He has a knack for finding the open space in the middle of the field, and separates from defenders pretty easily at the top of his route. He and Stafford made quite a few plays together this spring. I think Amendola had a really good spring.”"

Twentyman singled out Amendola above all Lions’ players this spring, not just the new faces. That’s very impressive for a 33-year old veteran receiver entering his 11th season in the NFL. But Amendola has been defying expectations his entire career.

A two-time Super Bowl winner, Amendola comes to Detroit to rejoin former Patriots in head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn to bring a championship mentality to the Motor City. After spending the previous five seasons in New England, Amendola led the Miami Dolphins in targets (79), receptions (59), and receiving yards (575) in 2018 with an incredible catch percentage of 74.7.

Amendola accomplished all that in Miami with quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill (11 games) and Brock Osweiler (seven games) under center. Neither of whom are on the Dolphins’ roster anymore.

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In Detroit, Danny Amendola finds himself in a very favorable situation. Not only is Amendola rejoining the likes of Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia, but quarterback Matthew Stafford and him are already forming a connection that could have the slot receiver posting numbers approaching what the Lions had when Golden Tate was in his prime here.