The Detroit Lions will be faced with a problem during free agency this offseason. A few strategies can help them overcome this obstacle when the time comes.
Free agency has become the best time of year for Detroit Lions fans. General manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia will have their hands full with a roster that is loaded with needs. There is a slight problem, Detroit isn’t exactly a top destination and adding top talent isn’t going to be a walk in the park.
Now, look at the team’s record in the past two years and where they are headed to next season, it’s not looking good. In a make or break season for the front office, it’s going to be hard to get players to commit long term.
It’s easy to forget that other teams will be bidding for the top free agents as well and when you stack up against our situation to others, it’s not favorable. How can Quinn avoid this obstacle? Here are some of the strategies the Lions could be using.
1. New England Patriot Ties
This fan base must be sick of hearing about the New England ties every time a significant move is made in the Motor City. Although it’s something that should be accepted. Wide receiver Danny Amendola and defensive end Trey Flowers are the players with those ties and both proved to be good signings last offseason.
It doesn’t have to be Patriot ties either. It could be any player who would want to play for their former coaches. That includes both offensive and defensive coordinators Darrell Bevell and Cory Undlin. Mostly, this would be the most efficient way to grab talent.
2. Over-Paying Players
Overpaying is tricky as no general manager ever wants to pay the wrong player. At the same time, teams that don’t command high free agent interest should always consider this strategy. There are a few factors to consider, including age, contract length, position, and potential.
It should only be advisable for a team to overpay a player only if that player is absolutely needed for success. Sometimes a front office will have to outbid to get the player they want, that’s how it goes.
3. Low-Risk/High Reward Signings
Think back to the last offseason when the team signed cornerback Rashaan Melvin to a one-year deal. This was an excellent example of a low-risk/high reward free agent signing. At the time, Melvin was entering free agency after a down year with the Oakland Raiders. A year before his time in Oakland, Melvin had a career season with the Indianapolis Colts.
It’s expected to see more signings that are similar to Detroit’s signing of Melvin. That’s a low risk, players who’ve had a bad season, but in the years before they produced at a high-level. Of course, it will be up to the team to bring that player back to form.
4. Hometown Players
Another outlet is the hometown players. Convincing a player who is from Michigan or someone who grew up Lion’s fan to come and play for them. Former right guard T.J. Lang was the last signing of this manner.
To give more perspective, players including right tackle Jack Conklin and edge rusher Matt Judon are high-level players that are from Michigan. Detroit could try to bring them in on the home town narrative.
This is something to keep in mind when free agency starts in March. It is exciting to pull up a list of the NFL’s top free agents and assign your favorite players to this roster, but it’s best to stay realistic. With a front office that’s faced with a year in which they need to show results, it’s unlikely that players will be lining up at Ford Field to join the Detroit Lions.