Drew Stanton, QB
As a Lion: I’ll always have a soft spot for Stanton based on his contributions to the four-game winning streak to end 2010. Arriving as a second-round pick in 2007, this career backup filled in when needed for guys like Jon Kitna, Daunte Culpepper, Dan Orlovsky, and Shaun Hill before Stafford really took off. In his final start in Detroit, he made some clutch plays in the 2010 overtime win at Tampa, one that broke a road losing streak of nearly three years at the time.
Since he’s been gone: As an Arizona Cardinal, Stanton passed for 300 yards and two touchdowns to beat the Lions in a 2014 matchup. He currently hasn’t appeared in a game since the 2017 season, but he went 3-1 as a starter that year and has a pretty impressive 11-6 career record. Stanton has been a backup for Baker Mayfield in Cleveland over the past two seasons without seeing any regular-season action.
Closing thought: He’s 35 now, but as an emergency backup goes, you can do a lot worse than Drew Stanton. We know from experience.
Ameer Abdullah, RB
As a Lion: Another former second-round pick, Abdullah led the Lions in rushing twice in his three-plus years. He also had a strong rookie season as a return man, with 1,077 yards from kickoffs in 2015. His flashes of electrifying speed and shiftiness never materialized into a consistent feature back though, and with nearly as many fumbles as touchdowns, Abdullah moved on in 2018.
Since he’s been gone: Playing for division rival Minnesota, Abdullah was used sparingly over the past two years, totaling just over 200 yards from scrimmage and a single touchdown as a Viking. With kickoff returns, in general, suffering a swift death, his usefulness on special teams has also been greatly reduced.
Closing thought: Instead, let’s just get Kerryon Johnson healthy. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask for.