The Detroit Lions have entered free agency with a conservative approach, as general manager Brad Holmes has refused to overspend.
NFL free agency has started, and the Detroit Lions have been conservative through the frenzy. General manager Brad Holmes has clearly priorited retaining players, with only one outside signing entering Thursday (wide receiver DJ Chark).
The Lions’ history in free agency is filled with overspending on players who either didn’t pan out, or were unable to carry teams that weren’t good enough.
At the start of this year’s legal tampering period, the Jacksonville Jaguars spent money like it was going out of style. Fortifying the structure around Trevor Lawrence has been the clear and obvious priority.
In the midst of the heavy activity around the league, Holmes has not wavered from what appears t be his plan. He took care of the most important in-house business, coming to terms with key players like Tracy Walker, Charles Harris, Josh Reynolds, Alex Anzalone and Evan Brown.
Chark is a big receiver, at 6-foot-4, with 4.3 speed. He earned a Pro Bowl selection with a breakout season in 2019 (73 catches for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns), but his last two seasons with the Jaguars were derailed by shoddy quaterback play (2020) and an injury (only four games played in 2021). Chark signed a one-year deal, but two void years have been tacked on to reduce his cap hit for 2022.
Lions GM Brad Holmes is sticking to responsible offseason plan
Winning teams aren’t built through free agency, and Holmes is going to build the Lions the right way through the draft. He’ll start out with nine picks in April’s Draft, including five in the top-100 overall.
None of what has been done thus far ensures the Lions will be or become winners, but responsible leadership actually running the team the right way fosters hope. The on-field results will be the No. 1 indicator, of course.
The draft will offer the Lions potential reinforcements at wide receiver and across all three levels of the defense. With any idea of major free agent splashes all but over, that injection of young talent will drive the conversation about the Lions as a team on the rise in 2022.