Are the new Detroit Lions content to tank in 2021?

Detroit Lions fans (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions fans (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
1 of 3
Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions fans (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Through the first two weeks of free agency, the new regime in the Motor City has done little to upgrade a roster that went 5-11 in 2020, cementing themselves in the basement of the NFC North division for the third-straight year.

And there’s a major argument to be made that the Lions are actually a far less talented team right now. A clear example being the drop-off from quarterback Matthew Stafford to Jared Goff. Just ask new Lions’ defensive tackle Michael Brockers, who proclaimed Stafford to be a level-up over Goff earlier this month.

For many, Stafford was the only reason the Lions were able to notch any wins in 2020. After all, the team went winless after he was lost for eight games due to injury the season prior. Now the savior is gone. In his place, a passer the Los Angeles Rams seemed more than happy to get rid of.

After exchanging an aging Adrian Peterson for Jamaal Williams this offseason, the running back position seems to be a push in Detroit. And it appears D’Andre Swift will be asked to carry the bulk of the offensive load in his second NFL season. No upgrade.

The position of tight end looks to be a push as well as the Lions simply replaced Jesse James with Josh Hill. Fresh off his first Pro Bowl bid, T.J. Hockenson will likely lead Detroit in receptions in his third season as the primary target for Goff. Again, no upgrade here.

The offensive line remains intact for the most part, although the team parted ways with Oday Aboushi, Joe Dahl, and Russell Bodine. The trio of left tackle Taylor Decker, center Frank Ragnow, and left guard Jonah Jackson are the backbone of what could become one of the top NFL offensive lines. Still, no upgrade as of yet.

The biggest mystery on the offensive side of the ball in Detroit is the wide receiver corps. The new regime has replaced Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., Danny Amendola, and Jamal Agnew with Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Kalif Raymond, and Damion Ratley. Even if the Lions add a first-round selection from the 2021 NFL Draft to this unit, it’s hard to imagine it not being projected as the worst receiver group in the league.

What about on defense?