Odd-man out on his current team could help Lions' backup QB situation

The Lions want Hendon Hooker to be their No. 2 quarterback, but a potentially available signal caller looks like a good fallback option.
Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

As expected, Hendon Hooker had plenty of ups and downs at Detroit Lions' OTAs. With every moment he showed his raw talent, he struggled with accuracy or held the ball too long and took a "sack." All expectations are he will be more comfortable when training camp comes, with reps under his belt that he had not had before.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported on the very base level work the Lions have done with Hooker this offseason.

Hooker would have to be awful in camp, or be injured, to cede the No. 2 spot on the depth chart to Nate Sudfeld. Sudfeld has value to the Lions' quarterback room, but if Jared Goff went down and he had to play the team is in big trouble.

There are obviously some key players the Lions' can't afford to lose to injury this season. Goff is probably No. 1 on the list, given the sheer unknown Hooker is and that Sudfeld has barely seen regular season action in his career.

So, in a broad sense and if Hooker doesn't take full hold of the backup job in training camp, the Lions could end up in the market for a backup quarterback.

QB who looks like odd-man out on current team could help Lions' backup situation

Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports has taken a look at six "quietly concerning" backup quarterback situations around the league, while offering proposed solutions. The Lions are of course on the list.

The proposed move to address the Lions' situation? Trade for Taylor Heinicke.

"Hooker has a third-round pedigree, but he's 26 and still in the learning stages of the No. 2 role, fresh off a "redshirt" season spent recovering from a torn ACL. Heinicke is a different animal, starting 28 games the last three years and showcasing enough spunk as a gutsy passer to win over multiple fan bases. He'd be sure to get the Dan Campbell stamp of approval for his never-say-die mentality, and his role is fuzzier with the Atlanta Falcons after the dual addition of Kirk Cousins and Michael Penix Jr."

Heinicke started four games for the Falcons last year when Desmond Ridder got benched. He started 24 games over the previous two seasons with Washington, most notably starting 15 games and leading four game-winning drives in 2021.

Heinicke is a dictionary definition of a backup quarterback, well-traveled and with middling numbers across the board when he has played. But there are teams who might really like to have him as their backup, and that may include the Lions if it comes to that. As Atlanta's No. 3 quarterback, he has the look of a tradeable asset for them.

If nothing else, Heinicke has played and it's clear what he is and isn't as a quarterback. The Lions still don't really know what they have in Hooker, and the fact Sudfeld has hardly played (or hardly had to play) says it all. If all else (Hooker) fails, Heinicke lands as a viable potential option to be Goff's backup.