The idea of the NFL adding a new team or two in the future is certainly out there, in concert with adding regular season games. The 33rd Team leaned all the way into the premise recently, to name a and put together the starting roster for a hypothetical expansion team for 2024.
With considerations for critical elements, like who teams would leave unprotected for an expansion draft, financial considerations in free agency, etc., Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report did a similar exercise, but for 2023. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins made the roster for B/R and The 33rd Team's expansion franchises, and there are some other overlaps, but one Lion made the two expansion rosters- Ballentine's at Bleacher Report for this year.
Detroit Lions wide receiver makes cut for 2023 NFL expansion team roster
Of course any expansion team would want Amon-Ra St. Brown if they could have a Lions' wide receiver, or maybe Jameson Williams. But the odds St. Brown would be left for an expansion team to take are between slim and none, and slim has already left the building. And Williams still has the tease of potential so that he wouldn't be left unprotected in a hypothetical expansion draft, this year or in 2024 probably.
So that left Ballentine, again for a 2023 expansion team with, to fill the WR3 slot in a starting lineup.....
"WR3: Josh Reynolds (Detroit Lions, $1.8M)- Alex Ballentine, Bleacher Report
Josh Reynolds has had an up-and-down career since entering the league as a fourth-round draft pick in 2017. His strongest showing was a 52-catch, 618-yard, two-touchdown campaign in 2020, his final season with the Los Angeles Rams. Reynolds signed with the Tennessee Titans following that performance but would last just five games with the club before being released.
The 28-year-old was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Lions and has rehabilitated his career with the team, but he's likely to see his role diminished in 2023. Reynolds wasn't a major contributor last year, but he did catch 38 balls for 479 yards and three scores. With Marvin Jones Jr. signing in free agency and 2022 first-round pick Jameson Williams likely to see heavy volume upon his return from suspension in Week 7, Detroit may opt to leave Reynolds unprotected.
Reynolds may not have a ton of upside at this point in his career, but the 6'3", 196-pound wideout is a big target who can create mismatches against smaller defensive backs. He'll help this expansion team move the chains and put points on the board.
There is a scenario, however far-fetched it may seem right now, where Reynolds is bumped well down the pecking order. Or he could even a be a surprise cut for the Lions before Week 1. Williams' six-game suspension helps push the latter scenario toward unlikely, but it is possible. And with one (cheap) year left on his contract, Reynolds be a prime candidate to be left exposed in a 2023 expansion draft.
In a hypothetical expansion draft, for this year, who (or who else?) would the Lions leave unprotected? They'd have to expose five players to the process.