3 free agents the Detroit Lions were wise to avoid in 2024

As the dust settles on the substantial part of free agency, the Detroit Lions look wise to not have signed these three guys.

David Berding/GettyImages
2 of 4

3. OG Robert Hunt

Rumors of a booming 2024 free agent market for guards pushed the idea the Lions would lose Jonah Jackson, which of course they did. Hunt was among those who possibly made sense as a pivot to replace Jackson on the offensive line, even as a right guard by trade, since the Miami Dolphins were not going to be able to afford to keep him. Graham Glasgow's versatility opened up options to add a guard.

Hunt missed a total of six games last season for the Dolphins due to a hamstring issue. But when he was out there he was very good. He posted the sixth-highest overall grade among guards from Pro Football Focus (76.4) with top-10 marks as both a run (74.7) and pass blocker (74.4). And in a broad sense durability was not a concern as he entered free agency, as he never missed a game in his first three NFL seasons. To say that hamstring injuries can be tricky is an understatement, with rest often the only and best cure.

The Carolina Panthers invested heavily two guards (Hunt and Damien Lewis) during free agency, led by the five-year, $100 million deal ($63 million in total guarantees) they gave Hunt. That's territory the Lions likely never entered, if they had more than cursory interest. They of course eventually signed Zeitler to play right guard, on a one-year deal reportedly worth at least $6 million.

With the contract extensions they have coming, signing Hunt to a deal along the lines of what he got would have been a heavy investment for the Lions. It would have hampered flexibility to do other things over the next couple years, so with no knock to his talent not signing Hunt looks very smart.