The Detroit Lions seem more than willing to let Graham Glasgow test free agency next month. Are they making a mistake by not signing him to an extension?
The Detroit Lions posted a disappointing 3-12-1 record last season, the second under head coach Matt Patricia. And although the former Super Bowl-winner received a reprieve from ownership for another season in the Motor City, the team may attempt to achieve playoff contender status without some of their key players from last year.
In total, the Lions have 15 players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents next month according to Spotrac.com. And they include some big names like defensive tackle Mike Daniels, wide receiver Danny Amendola, punter Sam Martin, cornerback Rashaan Melvin, and safety Tavon Wilson.
But the most impactful potential loss could be Graham Glasgow. The versatile offensive lineman has been a very important chess piece for the Lions since being drafted in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Michigan.
That’s the same draft class where Bob Quinn in his first year as Detroit’s general manager drafted three offensive linemen with the Lions’ first five picks. Along with Glasgow, Quinn also selected starting left tackle Taylor Decker in the first round and guard Joe Dahl in the fifth. The Lions picked up Decker’s fifth-year option last April while Dahl signed an extension through 2021 last August.
Despite retaining both Decker and Dahl, Glasgow has arguably been a more impactful player for the Lions starting at both guard and center during his time in Motown. The 27-year old has started in 58 of his 62 games in Detroit in a stellar four-year career so far. Pro Football Focus has graded Glasgow lower than a 70.1 since his rookie season, giving him a career-high 74.1 for last year.
But it appears Glasgow will be allowed to test the free-agent market next month. And the Lions seem more than content to allow him to do so. Here’s how Justin Rogers of The Detroit News answered a recent mailbag question about the bizarre situation surrounding Glasgow and the Lions.
"“Looking at the top-10 guard salaries in the NFL, seven of the 10 played for teams that didn’t make the playoffs in 2019. The Lions can look at a team like the 49ers, who play a style of football they admire, and see two starting guards with a combined salary of just over $8 million and under contract for the next two seasons.”"
Rogers would also point out that he believes positional value is coming into play with Glasgow. And that the Lions appear to view his position more easily replaceable than say, at tackle or center along the offensive line.
OverTheCap.com’s valuation of Glasgow’s play lands at just over $6 million a season. But you can expect him to sign for much more in a highly competitive market place desperate for quality offensive lineman. According to Spotrac.com, Philadelphia Eagles’ Brandon Brooks is the highest-paid offensive guard in the NFL with an average yearly salary of $14,08 million.
The Detroit Lions could certainly be undervaluing Graham Glasgow and how his loss might disrupt the chemistry that’s been building along a relatively young offensive line. Yet, the Lions are in the best position to judge Glasgow’s worth accurately. And if they chose not to extend him, they must have their reasons.