Where are the upgrades?
Perhaps just as puzzling is the lack of free-agent signings when it comes to their linebacker corps. The Lions dismantled this group, sending Jarrad Davis, Reggie Ragland, and Christian Jones packing. In their place, Detroit signed Alex Anzalone and retained Jalen Reeves-Maybin. No upgrade.
Needs at both cornerback and safety have yet to be addressed. The new regime released starting corners in Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman this offseason. And safety Duron Harmon, a 16-game starter in 2020 himself, is currently a free agent. Sans upgrades here too.
The re-signing of defensive end Romeo Okwara and the addition of Charles Harris has helped to secured the pass rush in Detroit. And the trade for defensive tackle Michael Brockers is by far the biggest upgrade of the offseason.
Going through the Lions’ current depth chart, it appears only one position has actually been upgraded through the first wave of free agency. And several needs remain unaddressed, been filled with players whose skill-level is comparable to those who exited, or the Lions have simply settled for a downgrade of talent.
New head coach Dan Campbell spelled out his intentions in his first season in Detroit. Here’s what Campbell told Mlive.com recently.
“ … my job is to figure out how can we win with what we add on this roster right now, or what’s here, or whatever Brad [Holmes] comes up with us collectively? That’s my job ,,, we’re going to add what we think we can to be competitive, and then our job is to find a way to win games.”
So coach is going to coach whomever the Lions’ new front office sticks him with this year regardless of talent level. Check.
Again, this now appears to be a much less talented roster than the one that went 5-11 in 2020. And while the Lions still have time to find some hidden gems in free agency, it seems many are banking on the upcoming draft to fill these needs.
Unfortunately, the current amount of voids in Motown far outnumber the Lions’ draft picks (six total). Even then you’d be counting on Day Two and Day Three selections playing like first-rounders as rookies.
The lack of action by Detroit’s front office so far, their willingness to allow Kenny Golladay to exit in free agency, their giddiness to trade Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff, and their lack of free-agent signings to actually upgrade positions of need seem to point to one conclusion. The new regime in Detroit doesn’t mind losing in 2021.