6 Detroit Lions free agents who will not be back in 2024

The Detroit Lions may or may not make a huge splash in free agency this year, but these six internal free agents are sure to not be back next season.
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4. CB Kindle Vildor

Vildor deserves some credit for stepping in opposite Cameron Sutton at the other outside cornerback spot like he did, when no one else proved capable or ultimately healthy enough to do so. And a lot of Lions' fans will focus on the unfortunate play in the NFC Championship Game, when a deep pass hit him in the facemask and Brandon Aiyuk made an incredible catch, as a reason he's not good enough or should be gone.

More broadly than that though, Vildor would not have played as much as he did over the last six games for the Lions (including the playoffs) on many other teams, let alone another playoff team. Noticeable positive plays were too few, but there were simply no other options.

Getting down to it, Vildor is a fringe roster guy who had to be elevated from the practice squad and eventually start (while playing nearly every defensive snap) for the Lions this season. By the simple fact an upgrade won't be hard to get, even with a small dip in free agency, Vildor is should be allowed to hit the market with little resistance.

3. OG Halapoulivaati Vaitai

After a back injury cost him all of the 2022 season, Vaitai apparently briefly considered retirement. He stepped back in as the starting right guard early this season, and after a camp competition/non-competition with Graham Glasgow, only to be sidelined by a knee injury for a few weeks. Glasgow took over at right guard, and never gave the job back except when he had to start elsewhere on the interior line.

A recurrence of his back issue sidelined Vaitai for the season in November. He noted the situation in Detroit as a reason he brushed off retirement last offseason, and having to rehab a back injury again to get ready to play next season may tip the scales toward him actually calling it a career this offseason.

The Lions could consider bringing Vaitai back on a very cheap one-year deal. But is that worth it for him? Could he find anything better elsewhere, with back issues in back-to-back seasons? (Unlikely).

There's a 50-50 chance, or maybe better, Vaitai retires this offseason. If he decides to keep playing, there's a 99.9 percent chance the Lions say "thank you" and goodbye. There's also a strong chance he finds nothing worthwhile on the open market, then decides to retire.