Analysis

Detroit Lions Free Agency Outlook

Detroit Lions Free Agency Preview

Detroit finished 2021 with their 4th straight last place finish in the NFC North with a 3-13-1 record in head coach Dan Campbell’s first season. They struggled on both sides of the football – finishing 22nd or worse in points scored, points allowed, total yards, and total yards allowed. Heading into the 2022 offseason they have the 13th most cap space with $22.74 million and hold 10 picks in the upcoming draft. Five of those picks coming inside the top 100 a majority of Detroit’s young talent is locked down for at least the next two seasons. This includes: TJ Hockenson, D’Andre Swift, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jeff Okudah, Taylor Decker, and Penei Sewell

Update: The Lions now have $25,793,894 available in cap space.

Detroit’s Impending Free Agents:

  • S Tracy Walker
  • EDGE Charles Harris 
  • LB Alex Anzalone
  • C Evan Brown (RFA)
  • WR Kalif Raymond
  • RT Matt Nelson (ERFA)
  • S Dean Marlowe
  • IDL Nicholas Williams
  • LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin
  • P Jack Fox (ERFA)
  • LS Scott Daly (ERFA)
  • TE Brock Wright (ERFA)
  • WR KhaDarel Hodges
  • LG Tommy Kraemer (ERFA)
  • QB Tim Boyle
  • EDGE Jessie Lemonier (ERFA)
  • S CJ Moore (RFA)
  • WR Tom Kennedy (ERFA)
  • S Bobby Price (ERFA)
  • C Ryan McCollum (ERFA)
  • S Jalen Elliott (ERFA)
  • K Riley Patterson (ERFA)
  • LB Anthony Pittman (ERFA)
  • LT Will Holden (RFA)
  • CB Mark Gilbert (ERFA)
  • QB David Blough (RFA)
  • LB Shaun Dion Hamilton
  • TE Rashod Berry (ERFA)
  • RT Tyrell Crosby
  • S Godwin Igwebuike (ERFA)
  • IDL Joel Heath

Detroit has 34 players entering free agency this offseason. None of the 34 players made over $3 million in 2021 and only three of them played over 70% of Detroit’s snaps this season. EDGE Charles Harris is one of their top re-sign candidates after having a breakout 2021 season on his third team in five years. 

Franchise Tag:

  • EDGE Charles Harris

At the moment, Detroit has no obvious players who deserve to be franchise tagged. One player to keep eyes on is Charles Harris. Harris is coming off a season where he had career highs across the board, including 7.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, and 54 total pressures. Harris’ franchise tag and transition tag numbers for a linebacker would be $17.42 million and $14.88 million. A hefty price tag for a possible rotational pass rusher behind Trey Flowers and Julian Okwara. 

Update: The Lions elected to not use their franchise tag this offseason.

Top Team Needs:

  1. Center
  2. Wide Receiver
  3. Inside Linebacker

At center, Evan Brown is set to become a free agent and Ryan McCollum is the only rostered center they have left. For wide receiver, Amon-Ra St. Brown had a breakout rookie season but with Kalif Raymond and Josh Reynolds set to be free agents–they need to find a difference-making X-receiver who can complement St. Brown who works in the slot. Finally for inside linebacker, they need to acquire a player who is capable of playing sideline to sideline football; an athlete who can lead the middle of the defense.