4 free agents the Detroit Lions could sign after the 2023 NFL Draft
1. K Robbie Gould
In a fairly surprising development, Gould indicated in March that he will be leaving the 49ers and signing with another team in free agency. It seems like that’s his decision, but perhaps the team gave him indications they want to go in another direction after six years.
Any idea he might go back to the 49ers was officially put to bed when they drafted Michigan kicker Jake Moody in the third round.
The Lions notably did not draft a kicker, or even sign one as an undrafted rookie. So it’s Michael Badgley and no one else right now, even as an OTA/camp/preseason leg.
Gould spent his first 11 seasons with the Chicago Bears, posting a remarkable 85.4 percent field goal rate while playing half his games in the rough conditions of Soldier Field (weather and field). After a partial season with the New York Giants in 2016, he made 95.1 percent of his field goals in his first year as a 49er in 2017. In 2018, he led the league and set a career-best by making 97.1 percent of his field goals. A drop-off followed in 2019 but he has been steady since, matching the template of his entire career.
Talking to The 33rd Team back in early February, Gould hinted at wanting to kick in warm weather or a dome. The Lions check the dome box. Being a good team and relatively close to his established home of Chicago, even playing a game there once each season, might add to the appeal.
Gould recently talked about those latter two things at a celebrity golf tournament.
"Obviously I want to play closer to home, that’s one of the big things that’s meant a lot to me, and we’re filtering through those opportunities, and waiting for the right time to be able to do that,” Gould said. “I’d love to win if possible, so I’m kind of being a little picky with that, but at 40 years old and playing 18 years in the league, I think I’ve earned the ability to do that.”"
The Lions may be content with Badgley as their kicker, to the point they’d push aside all other potential upgrade options. But Gould is out there still available, waiting for someone to sign him. The Lions could be the team that appeals to him most, as plenty of suitors now surely emerge.