Are the Detroit Lions winning free agency amongst the NFC North?

Desmond Trufant, Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Desmond Trufant, Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions have improved the most in the NFC North division this offseason.

Football dynasties such as the New England Patriots had a meteoric rise due to great players and great coaching, but the construction and maintenance of said dynasty comes in the offseason, specifically in the free agency period.

The Detroit Lions are nowhere near even being in the same conversation as a dynasty, but free agency classes like the ones Motown has brought in in 2020 are at the very least a step in the right direction.

While the Lions lost All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay, they did add the pieces to mostly replace in former Falcons CB Desmond Trufant and No. 3 overall draft pick in Jeff Okudah.

Trufant headlines a free agency class that has sneakily become one of the most underrated in the NFL, as the Lions added a few quality linebackers (Jamie Collins, Reggie Ragland, Elijah Lee), a nose tackle to replace Damon Harrison and A’Shawn Robinson (Danny Shelton) a flexible tackle with Super Bowl pedigree (Hal Vaitai) a solid backup quarterback (Chase Daniel) and some other pieces to bolster the secondary (Jayron Kearse, Darryl Roberts, Tony McRae).

The 2020 Detroit Lions will be better than last year’s squad almost by default, as Matthew Stafford has fully recovered from his back injury and retake his rightful starting position.

When looking at the other additions from the rest of the NFC North through free agency and draft picks, not only did the Lions make the most moves, but they made the moves that are likely to make the biggest impact instantly.

The Green Bay Packers lost key contributors in Blake Martinez and Bryan Bulaga, and didn’t get better at any position, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press outlined.

"“Perhaps the Packers are better and more committed to running the football with [A.J.] Dillon in the mix, but in this weird year any gains they’ll make will be due to the continuity of their roster and Aaron Rodgers’ return to greatness.”"

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While the Minnesota Vikings had one of the best drafts in adding key pieces such as Justin Jefferson and Jeff Gladney, those rookies will likely go through a learning curve and will not be able to replace key franchise departures instantly, such as Stefon Diggs, Xavier Rhodes and Everson Griffin. It also can’t be understated the offense may regress with Kevin Stefanski moving to the coach the Cleveland Browns.

The Chicago Bears arguably had the worst off-season out of all of the North teams. Even though they added former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles and defensive end Robert Quinn to boost both sides of the ball, they lost too many key defenders that made their defense so scary (S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, CB Prince Amukamara, LB Leonard Floyd).

All three of the other teams in the NFC North have a ton of question marks at a lot of key positions, and the Lions answered those questions at similar positions.

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The Lions are nowhere near being a team that can win a playoff game, as they have a long virtual off-season ahead with a lot of unproven pieces. But making this bevvy of underrated moves in the off-season gives them a step ahead in the NFC North divisional race.