John Cominsky named the one free agent the Detroit Lions can’t afford to lose

The Detroit Lions and John Cominsky turned out to be a nice fit for each other, and Pro Football Focus has taken the fit a step further.

If not for their second place in the waiver priority, coming off a 3-13-1 season, the Detroit Lions would not have gotten John Cominsky last summer. They were one of eight teams to put in a claim on him after the Atlanta Falcons waived him, and the Houston Texans (No. 3 in the waiver order) were among the other teams.

To say the moved worked out well might be to undersell it. Cominsky led the Lions in quarterback pressures through the first two games this season. He suffered a thumb injury late in that Week 2 game, then after surgery only missed three games before playing the rest of the season with a club on his hand.

After 2-3 games of getting eased back into action, Cominsky played at least a 70 percent snap share in eight of the last nine games. The only exception was the 41-10 win over the Chicago Bears in Week 17, when the Lions used backups more than usual late in a blowout.

John Cominsky tabbed as the free agent the Lions can’t afford to lose

It takes two to tango, team and player, but Cominsky has made it abundantly clear to anyone who will listen that he wants to re-sign with the Lions. It’s fair to assume if money and years are comparable between any other offers and one the Lions make, he will choose to stay.

Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus has named one free agent each NFL team can’t afford to lose. Cominsky was the guy for the Lions.

Cominsky brought versatility and physicality to the Lions’ defense in his first season in Detroit, becoming a more consistent pass rusher with his 6-foot-5, 285-pound frame that also enabled him to kick inside. He and rookie first-rounder Aidan Hutchinson both demonstrated positional flexibility along the defensive line, which could help Detroit construct different looks and manufacture pressure on opposing quarterbacks if he’s kept around for 2023 and beyond.

Cominsky became an official starter in Week 11, and his 31 quarterback pressures from that point through the end of the regular season tied for eighth among edge defenders.

Remember those 31 pressures (via PFF) for Cominsky, tied for eighth-most among edge defenders from Week 11 to the end of the season, came with a big cast on his right hand. Imagine what he can do with two fully usable hands.

Versatility, physicality, toughness, skill. If Cominsky doesn’t epitomize what the Lions want to be about, no one does. On a surface level it feels a little aggressive to name him the one free agent they can’t afford to lose, but if he’s not then he’s high on the list.