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

They may be trending toward losing Jonah Jackson, so if he's gone in free agency here are five pivot options for the Detroit Lions.

Ryan Kang/GettyImages
1 of 4

Sometimes, free agency requires quick, cold acknowledgement that a pivot is necessary. The Detroit Lions value retaining "their own", as general manager Brad Holmes reinforced during his season-ending press conference a couple weeks ago (which is still a must-watch, by the way).

But when that intention to re-sign people doesn't pan out, as it didn't with Jamaal Williams and Evan Brown last year, the Lions quickly pivoted and it worked out nicely in both cases.

Left guard Jonah Jackson is arguably the Lion's top internal free agent this year. It's safe to say he did not have an ideal contact year though, missing five regular season games and the NFC Championship Game due to injuries. His level of play also dropped off compared to the previous two years. On the durability front, he missed four games in 2022.

Still, Jackson is firmly in his prime at 27 years old. He will have suitors on the open market should he get there, and he should not struggle to get a solid multi-year deal as teams looking to upgrade at his position.

There's a chance Jackson takes a relative discount to stay in Detroit. Or if he ends up having to settle for a "prove-it" deal coming off a down year, coming back would be more in play.

Adam Caplan of Pro Football Network offered some insight to the situation with Jackson and the Lions, before the season and now.

Offensively, the key player to re-sign for the Detroit Lions is Jonah Jackson, who has been one of their best interior offensive linemen ever since the team selected him in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft."
"A league source said both sides were not close to an agreement to begin last season, but that doesn’t mean Detroit won’t look to re-sign him before free agency starts."

It feels like the Lions will draw a line, in years and money, with Jackson that they won't stretch very far beyond-if at all. The status of contract talks right now can't be known, though they do have the ability to re-sign him at any time.

Flip a coin, and predict heads of tails before it lands. You'll have just as good a chance to predict if the Lions will re-sign Jackson right now. So lining up some pivot free agency options for them makes sense.

5 free agent pivot options for the Detroit Lions if they lose Jonah Jackson

5. Aaron Brewer

Brewer worked his way from being an undrafted free agent in 2020 to being a 17-game starter who played every offensive snap for the Tennessee Titans in each of the last two seasons. He also did it at two different positions, left guard in 2022 and center last season.

He worked on the other side of the ball, obviously, but new Lions defensive line coach Terrell Williams surely got to see Brewer work against his defensive line pupils in Tennessee in practice over the last four seasons. In a broader sense, Williams witnessed Brewer's rise to being a starter.

Brewer will have free agent suitors who want him to play center, as they should since he was Pro Football Focus' 11th-highest graded center last season. But he would be a capable guard too, Williams presumably has some insight about him and maybe Brewer would listen to an offer from the Lions to move back to left guard.

Brewer is on the smaller side, at 295 pounds. but his movement ability would seem to fit the Lions' run-blocking schemes well.

It will depend on a few things, most prominently if he is willing to move back to left guard, but Brewer broadly looks like a solid fit for the Lions if they have a need.