The Detroit Lions have traditionally ignored depth at quarterback. The time has come to put an emphasis on finding quarterbacks who can capably play if needed.
Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell are headed into a second offseason trying to build a roster that can be sustainably good. Based on last year’s rookie class, so far so good.
Holmes had a very low-key free agency period last year, as he was in the process of feeling out the roster. So he went shopping in the bargain basement, signing a line of mostly one-year deals.
The challenge this offseason is to continue adding talent without overspending in free agency. One of the positions that needs to be upgraded, if only for depth, is quarterback. How Holmes chooses to do so will be his prerogative.
The Lions could double-dip, signing a veteran in free agency and also drafting a signal caller.
The Lions need to address their quarterback depth
Last season’s No. 2 and No. 3 quarterbacks, Tim Boyle and David Blough, are both free agents (a restricted free agent in Blough’s case). Both could, and maybe should, be gone with upgrades not that hard to find even in a less than robust free agent market at quarterback.
Someone like Marcus Mariota would not only give the Lions a chance to win when or if Jared Goff is hurt, but he could push Goff as well. But Mariota will have options, including the opportunity to possibly win a starting job somewhere. So that could be a no-go for Detroit.
Some other veteran names the Lions are Tyrod Taylor, Jacoby Brissett and the ultimate NFL reliever, Ryan Fitzpatrick. All are good options for the role the Lions are likely looking to fill, as the veteran that is signed doesn’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) a long-term answer.
That long-term commitment would be to a quarterback the Lions draft. This isn’t to say that whoever is Holmes’ favorite in this draft class will automatically be anointed the quarterback of the future. But it would give the Lions a young talent to develop.
Last year when Campbell was introduced he admitted, when asked, that his preference would be a dual-threat quarterback. Fitzpatrick doesn’t fit that mold, but Taylor and Brissett do. There are prospects in this year’s draft class who are threats with their legs too. Goff is clearly not a running threat, so the transition to a quarterback who is may take a little time.
The Lions roster could have a lot of turnover this offseason. The moves made to add depth behind Goff will be indicators of where things are going to go at the most important position on the field in 2022 and beyond.