5 free agents who should be on Detroit Lions' radar to replace Jonah Jackson

As the Lions look to replace Jonah Jackson, these five free agents should be on their radar.

Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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4. Connor Williams

Williams moved to center for the Miami Dolphins over the last two seasons, where he really blossomed (No. 2 center by Pro Football grade in 2023, behind some guy named Frank Ragnow).

But over his first four NFL seasons, Williams started 51 games at left guard for the Dallas Cowboys. The chief reason he's still available as the first week of free agency winds down is a torn ACL that ended last season early, so he's basically three months removed from the injury right now.

The medical evaluation on Williams probably won't be very clear right now, but Week 1 would be nine months out from the injury and maybe he'd be ready to play. Soon after would be a possibility. Drafting a rookie guard who could start right away might be in play for the Lions anyway, since Brad Holmes isn't swayed in the draft by what was done in free agency, so Williams shouldn't be off the table to sign--and he's 26 (27 in May).

3. Laken Tomlinson

Tomlinson was a first-round pick by the Lions back in 2015, so this would be a reunion. Falling onto the long list of Lions' first-round busts, he was traded to the 49ers after two seasons and started at left guard for them over the next five campaigns (2017-2021), earning his first Pro Bowl nod in 2021. He parlayed that final season in San Francisco into a nice contract from the New York Jets (three years, $40 million) in 2022.

Two down seasons with the New York Jets earned Tomlinson his release early this offseason, in what was as much a cap space saving move as related to his performance. But it's worth wondering if he just wasn't a fit with the Jets, their inept offense dragged everyone down or he's hit his decline phase at 32 years old.

As the Lions look at veteran options to replace Jackson, Tomlinson would make a lot of sense due to some scheme similarities between his 49ers' days and their offense now.