Lions keep their offensive line one of best in the league with Kevin Zeitler signing

The Detroit Lions have taken a big step toward keeping their offensive line top-notch, agreeing to a deal with guard Kevin Zeitler.
Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

After going all defense with their outside free agent signings during the first week of free agency, the Detroit Lions have kicked off the second week with an offensive addition. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, they have agreed to a one-year deal with guard Kevin Zeitler.

According to Schefter, Zeitler is flying to Detroit Monday night to take a physical with the plan to make the move official on Tuesday. With the loss of left guard Jonah Jackson to the Los Angeles Rams in free agency, the Lions have made a nice pivot and upgraded.

Over 12 NFL seasons, for the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens, Zeitler has started 181 games at right guard. Last season with the Ravens, he earned his first career Pro Bowl selection while registering the second-best pass blocking grade from Pro Football Focus among qualifying guards (82.3).

Overall, he had the 15th-best grade from PFF (out of 79 qualifying guards). Only once in his career has he had an overall PFF grade below 71; 2020 with the Giants.

By comparison, albeit in a down, injury-hampered season, Jackson had just a 60.7 pass blocking grade from PFF and he was the site's 34th-highest graded guard last season.

Lions sign guard Kevin Zeitler, keep offensive line among best in NFL

The signing of Zeitler to play right guard means Graham Glasgow, PFF's eighth-highest graded guard overall last season, is moving to left guard. He has played over 1,200 snaps at left guard in his career, including 75 last year (one start) and the large portion of his first two NFL seasons after the Lions drafted him in 2016. So it's not a foreign position to him.

The Lions' offensive line, led by three first-round picks, has been one of the best of the NFL the last couple seasons. Losing Jackson left a notable void, and finding a starting-caliber veteran to take his place was certainly on the radar.

Zeitler was arguably, or may not arguably, the best free agent guard available as the second wave of free agent commenced. The Lions got him, on a one-year deal, to keep their offensive line among the best in the league next season-or maybe even clearly take any debate about that title away from the now Jason Kelce-less Philadelphia Eagles.


5 free agents who should be on Detroit Lions radar to replace Jonah Jackson. 5 free agents who should be on Detroit Lions radar to replace Jonah Jackson. dark. Next