3 former Detroit Lions we'd like to see return in 2024

There are moving parts involved in at least one case, but in a broad sense it would be nice to see these three former Detroit Lions return in 2024.

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1. OG Laken Tomlinson

Tomlinson was a first-round pick (28th overall) by the Lions in 2015. He was traded to the San Francisco 49ers after losing his starting job during his second season. He instantly went into the books as another draft bust in team history.

Not so fast. Tomlinson was the 49ers' starting left guard for the next five seasons (2017-2021), earning a well-timed Pro Bowl nod in that final season there as he headed into free agency.

The New York Jets ponied up and gave Tomlinson a three-year, $40 million deal in March of 2022, and he started 34 games at left guard for them over the last two seasons, But in a salary cap crunch, the Jets released him as combine week kicked off to clear $8.1 million in cap space.

It seems to be trending toward the Lions losing left guard Jonah Jackson in free agency, as they allocate big dollars to new contracts for other players. That will leave a significant void, and no one internally to step in unless someone is added in the draft. Even if Jackson is back, Tomlinson would provide experienced depth that currently does not exist.

Tomlinson should easily be able to find a starting job somewhere, so that's his most likely path back to the Lions (if Jackson leaves). The structure around him this time around in Detroit would be substantially better than it was when he was drafted, of course including offensive line coach Hank Fraley.

Overall, the fit could be very good if the Lions have a need for a starting left guard and Tomlinson wants to come back as he surveys his options.

dark. Next. 5 free agency pivot options for Detroit Lions if Jonah Jackson leaves. 5 free agency pivot options for Detroit Lions if Jonah Jackson leaves

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