At the outset of last offseason, Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes placed high priority on the No. 2 quarterback spot. All that substantially yielded was an early April report of a "strong offer" made to Teddy Bridgewater, and eventually signing Bridgewater as training camp started.
The delay in signing Bridgewater was apparently rooted in his thinking about retirement, which he told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press he would do when the season was over. Nothing is official on that front yet, but he has been hired as the new head coach at Miami Northwestern, his high school alma mater.
While Bridgewater barely played in his one season as a Lion, his impact was felt as he took young players like Hendon Hooker and Jameson Williams under his wing. That intangible impact will not be easy to replace, if it can even be replaced.
The broader question is to what extent do the Lions look to replace Bridgewater externally this offseason? It's easy to anoint Hooker as Jared Goff's primary backup next season, sight unseen before the preseason in terms of NFL game action. Adding a veteran could be on the radar.
With the big picture idea the Lions may look to add a veteran, but knowing it's hardly guaranteed to happen, let's rank the options to replace Bridgewater as their No. 2 quarterback next season.
Top 5 options for Detroit Lions to replace Teddy Bridgewater as their No. 2 quarterback next season
5. Joe Flacco
Flacco came off the couch to resque the Cleveland Browns' quarterback situation late this season. He has said he wants to continue playing, and even after a rough outing in Cleveland's playoff loss to the Houston Texans there should be a market for his services as a veteran backup.
The Lions made Pro Football Network's very early list of potential landing spots for Flacco this offseason. The premise being how they may not be ready to just go with Hooker as Goff's backup, without some sort of fallback option heading into another season where there will be big expectations.
"Detroit figures to be among the NFC’s top Super Bowl contenders heading into next year. While Goff has been an iron man throughout his career, the Lions might not be ready to trust 2023 third-round Hendon Hooker as Goff’s primary backup next season, especially after he didn’t see the field during his rookie campaign."-Pro Football Network
Flacco certainly looks like he'd be a good fit with the Lions but it's also fair to say he's in line to have some clearer opportunities (little or no likely competition) to be the No. 2 guy elsewhere. In a broad sense though, the Lions should have him on their early list of veteran possibilities.