The Detroit Lions have signed multiple starters in free agency, most defensive players. However, Robby Anderson could be the last piece the offense needs.
With the first wave of free agency over, the Detroit Lions have made both starting and depth additions on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they signed linebacker Jaime Collins and cornerback Desmond Trufant to deals that signal they will have prominent roles on defense.
They have also signed two defensive tackles that will be solid role players. Former Chicago Bear Nick Williams was a solid addition to come in and provide interior pressure in passing situations. Former Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots player Danny Shelton will give the Lions a cheaper, better option to defend the run than that of former Lion A’Shawn Robinson.
Offensively, the Lions signed right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai to a five-year, $50 million deal that landed him the starting right tackle gig. The Lions also signed an interior depth piece in Joshua Garnett and resigned slot receiver Danny Amendola, who served as a security blanket for quarterback Matthew Stafford at times throughout the 2019 season.
The Lions have yet to add a speed threat to the wide-out corps as they have (rightly) focused on other areas of bigger need thus far into the free agency market. However, with round one over it’s time to start looking at a potential speedster that could give the Lions a dynamic deep threat that is more than just a jump-ball specialist.
That wide receiver is former New York Jet Robby Anderson. Anderson would provide the Lions a better speed threat than current go-route specialist Marvin Hall. Anderson brings great speed (4.34 40-time!) to his position and would give Stafford a deep threat that can gain separation he hasn’t had in a while.
Wide receiver Kenny Golladay is a great player, but he doesn’t possess the speed that allows him to create regular separation on deep routes. Anderson does and Stafford would immediately upgrade his worth, taking full advantage of the deep speed Anderson possesses.
Anderson is more than just speed. He can win jump-balls when he needs to and has good hands that Stafford could trust to make the catch and rarely drop passes. He can also get space on intermediate and short routes such as slants and is a solid screen threat as well.
In 2019, with the New York Jets and their dismal offense, Anderson performed admirably, making the best of a bad situation. He caught 52 passes for 779 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged 15 yards per reception and could easily average more and top all of those numbers in the aggressive offense the Lions and Stafford bring to the table.
The Lions have about $13 million to $15 million to spend in free agency, with the rest of the cap space being reserved for draft picks and in-season cushion. Spotrac.com estimates that his market value is going to be about $12 million.
However, the wide receiver market has been slow so far this free agency, no doubt thanks to the deep wide receiver class that is coming up in the 2020 NFL Draft. Ultimately, it’s very possible that Anderson has to take a deal around $10 million due to the deep and talented wide-out class in this year’s class. If the Lions can secure his services for around that much then they should absolutely close the deal and add much-needed speed to the offense.