Are the Detroit Lions poised to run roughshod through free agency?

Credit: James Gilbert/Getty Images
Credit: James Gilbert/Getty Images /

Predicted to sign a better chunk of top free agents than you might expect, are the Detroit Lions going to spend big?

Entering the next phase of their roster build, the Detroit Lions are better-equipped with cap space than they were a year ago when general manager Brad Holmes took over. Even after re-signing three of their own free agents already, there’s room to make moves.

Sayre Bedinger of FanSided’s NFL Spin Zone has predicted the landing spots for the top-100 NFL free agents. There is certainly a Lions’ flavor to the list, published Tuesday morning.

Counting down, at No. 98, the Lions are predicted to sign (soon-to-be former?) Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

"I think a team like Detroit will offer a player like Valdes-Scantling more money than he can turn down because of their desperation at the position. There’s untapped potential here but there’s also a chance Valdes-Scantling — who averaged over 20 yards per catch in 2020 — could be the next Tyrell Williams in free agency."

Takeaway: The Lions re-signing of Josh Reynolds on Tuesday likely eliminates their need for someone like Valdes-Scantling, and the comparison to last year’s signing of Tyrell Williams was kind of gross anyway.

Are the Detroit Lions poised to spend big in free agency?

At No. 31 on the list, Bedinger predicts edge rusher Haason Reddick to land with the Lions.

"Detroit should be ready to pay a premium for some pieces they can build around and they need pass rushers.They might be able to land Aidan Hutchinson with the second pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, but a player like Reddick could give them a dynamic duo off the edge. As close as this team was in some games last year, pass rushers that can close out games might be on top of the priority list."

In a CBS Sports free agent mock draft last week, modeled after the first-round order of the NFL Draft, the Lions landed Reddick. He is certainly going to be looking to get a multi-year deal in free agency after totaling 23.5 sacks over the last two seasons, and Detroit needs pass rush help.

Takeaway: If the Lions lose Charles Harris, then it’s more likely they could be in on Reddick.

Down to No. 27, the Lions are predicted by Bedinger to land another potential former Packer–linebacker De’Vondre Campbell.

Takeaway: Campbell would certainly be an upgrade over Alex Anzalone and/or Jalen Reeves-Maybin, but I wonder if the Lions will be able to usurp multiple other suitors with an offer.

Then in the top-10 of the free agent list, at No. 8, the Lions are predicted to land safety Marcus Williams.

"The Detroit Lions a destination for free agents in 2022?I’m telling you, don’t sleep on it.The Lions have money and they have a coaching staff that I think players want to play for. There are some significant connections between the Lions and Saints, obviously, and the specific one here that matters is defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.Glenn spent a lot of time coaching the defensive backs in New Orleans, including pending free agent safety Marcus Williams."

Takeaway: Williams is one of the top free agent safeties, and he may hit the open market if the Saints can’t get a deal done with him. He is easy to see as a great fit for the Lions, with their need at safety (with or without keeping Tracy Walker) and Aaron Glenn’s role in his development when they overlapped in New Orleans. I just wonder about the cost, and the allocation of cap dollars to other areas if Detroit ponies up for Williams.

If we were to put these four free agents in order of the Lions’ likelihood to end up signing them, it’d go Williams, Reddick, Campbell and Valdes-Scantling. It’s highly possible they go 0-for-4, with their pursuit/interest level in the same order.

Must Read. No, the Detroit Lions shouldn't trade for Jordan Love. light