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Detroit Lions Offseason Thread 2023


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lions schedule is now complete!

home:

bears, viqueens, packers, falcons, panthers, broncos, raiders, seahawks

away:

bears, viqueens, packers, chiefs, chargers, saints, bucs, cowboys, ravens.

that is a TOUGH schedule.  SIX road games against playoff teams.

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the lions are the third team to start 1-6 and finish with a winning record.  the other two are the 1970 bengals and 2021 dolphins.

the 1971 bengals followes that up by going 4-10.  the 2022 dolphins went 9-8, losing 5 of their last 6.

what you did last year doesnt always portend good tidings for what you do in the future.  right now, the lions are a goff injury away from picking in the top 5 again.  as strange as that sounds.

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39 minutes ago, buddha said:

lions schedule is now complete!

home:

bears, viqueens, packers, falcons, panthers, broncos, raiders, seahawks

away:

bears, viqueens, packers, chiefs, chargers, saints, bucs, cowboys, ravens.

that is a TOUGH schedule.  SIX road games against playoff teams.

If they can go 5-1 in division every year they will be in serious business every year. They just need to take care of business at home and things will fall into place.

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saints and bucs should suck next year.  bears will suck.  rodgers will retire.  viqueens luck will run out.

maybe mahomes gets hurt?  lamar is always hurt and might not even be in baltimore next year.

by this time next year, the schedule may not look at that hard after all!

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I'm disappointed because I think with the momentum we have there is not a team in the NFL that we couldn't go 12 rounds with. Specifically, I think we would beat any of the Jaguars, Ravens, Dolphins, Eagles, Vikings, Bucs, Giants, and Seahawks in a game played next week. More than half the playoff field. That Seahawks-Rams game left a bitter taste in my mouth. Crazy how an NFL season can come down to a phantom whistle in the Lions-Seahawks game for a supposed clock malfunction and a ridiculous roughing the kicker call. 

At the same time, I don't think this is a team that was prepared to win multiple playoff road games to actually make the run, and as Ricky Bobby said, if you ain't first you're last.

This team could be something really special next year and beyond. A goal for the offseason needs to be to find ways to come out of the gate swinging next season. After the 3-3 finish in 2021, we started 1-6 this season. Can't happen again. A lot of good teams start a little slow, but you can't put yourself in a position where you have to start winning practical playoff games in October again.

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4 hours ago, buddha said:

saints and bucs should suck next year.  bears will suck.  rodgers will retire.  viqueens luck will run out.

maybe mahomes gets hurt?  lamar is always hurt and might not even be in baltimore next year.

by this time next year, the schedule may not look at that hard after all!

The Chargers will be a de facto home game as well lol

Edited by mtutiger
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If memory serves me.  Suh's rookie year in 2010 they were 2-10 and won their last 4 to close out the season.  2011 was a playoff year(and fun year to watch)  These things can carry over.  I think the pieces are in place.  In Brad we trust...LFG!!!

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Typically momentum doesn't carry over year-to-year, but confidence does and this team is confident.  They've got swagger, they've got balls, and they BELIEVE in themselves and that will mean a lot. 

For the offseason

- Hope Ben Johnson doesn't take a Head Coaching job.   Arizona just feels like a fit for him.    If he leaves, go get Frank Reich. 

- Sign Jamaal.  He's more important than Swfit right now.   He's the 1A.  He's also kind of the heart of the team in a lot of ways.  

- There will be a ton of QB movement again this year (I'll post my predictions later).   There will likely be some pretty decent guys available that could be a backup here with potential to be a starter.   

Draft.   I would like the idea of trading down from 6 if THE guy is not there.      I doubt that happens, because we ALWAYS want that to happen and it never does.  I think it's far more likely that they maneuver up from 17 than down from 6.   

Draft (Top 5 Picks for Lions)

2 CBs  (or 1 CB and 1 Safety)
1 RB
1 Interior D Lineman
1 LInebacker

Free Agency. 
Sign another TE 
Sign a really good LB.
Upgrade at Backup QB.   
Get more depth a CB

 

Position Groups


Quarterbacks - Goff is fine.  He struggles outside, but perfect guys are hard to come by.   Absolutely need to really upgrade backup.  Seems like they just never had a plan here.  At some point Goff will get hurt

Running Backs - Resign Jamaal. He means a lot to the team.  2 years.  Pay him.  Need to draft one in the Top 4 rounds, Swift isn't sturdy enough.   

Wide Receivers - Had a great season.  Re-sign Chark, if you can.   We add a gamebreaker next year anyway

Tight Ends - They got a lot out of this group, but they probably could use an upgrade.  It doesn't have to be a high pick

Offensive Line - The best in the NFL?  Can make that argument.   Didn't need Vaitai this year (he was great as a guard in 2021).   

Defensive Line - I don't think Levi will ever be a factor.  With that pick at #6.   Bears & Cardinals need O-Lineman.  Texans and Colts need QBs.  Seattle could do just about anything.    There will be a very very good D-Lineman available in the draft and that will absolutely solidify the group.  

Linebackers - Looks better at the end than it did at the beginning but still needs a couple of players to round it out.  One in the draft and go get a big free agent difference maker.   Go get Roquan Smith.  

Secondary -  This is the weakest part of the team.   With so much draft capital they should be able to add 2 rookies.  Okudah was up and down, but much better than he looked with the Rocket Scientist.     They need Walker to come back healthy and strong, and still draft a safety.   I could see a lot of changes in this group.   

Special Teams - Badgley is a good kicker, they could do worse, but going after Jake Moody with the last draft pick (if he's there) might be a shrewd move.  I know kickers don't get drafted anymore but he is one of the best college kickers of all time and he hit a lot of clutch ones too.   Punter is locked up (and also a third string QB?)

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At the beginning of the year and in the preseason I told myself I didn't so much care about the number of wins this season as I did seeing improvement. As long as I saw improvement, that was what would matter to me more than win totals. Individual player improvement, improvement among positional groups, and improvement by the coaching staff. Early on in the season it looked like there was little player development and growth among this team. The defense was historically bad, a coach got fired over it, and it felt like our defense was regressing and not improving. I know I was on the cusp of wanting Aaron Glenn fired and Dan Campbell on the hot seat for early next year.

When the team went 1-6 the wheels could have fallen off and we would completely spiraled and gotten worse from there. It didn't though and Dan Campbell and company kept the train on the tracks. Not only that, we saw a tremendous amount of growth from young players on this team and we got markedly better. St. Brown, Wright, Sewell, Hutch, Rodrigo, Okudah, Joseph all took major steps forwards as players. The defense went from the worst in the league and got progressively better, with a few hiccups like the Panthers game. The coaching staff put this team in a position where opposing teams finally had to take us seriously and play us with the respect that we were going to beat them.

I think the beginning of this season left a lot to be desired and made the future of this regime and coaching staff look real bleak. But they all, collectively turned it around, in a way we have almost never seen this organization, under Ford ownership, actually do. There is a lot to build off of for next year and I expect them to get very aggressive in the offseason. Before any cuts, trades, or restructures happen it looks like they will have around $28,000,000 in cap space and they should be out to use a good portion of that. I want a splash free agent signing on defense at position of need. Let's hope Holmes is smart but aggressive this offseason using that cap space on defense and makes some big improvements at positions like DT, OLB, and Corner.

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Pending free agent list

PFF Top 25 Free Agents

Looking at the list of pending and potential free agents and our needs, not knowing who will be cut in the future, I like guys like James Bradburry/CB and Cam Sutton/CB, as options in the secondary to make an upgrade at Corner. As well as Dalvin Tomlinson/DT as an option up front to help plug holes against the run. Things will change, players will get cut, and some of these guys may get resigned. Signing a pairing of Bradburry/Tomlinson seems like nice upgrade for this defense via free agency, before we even get to the draft.

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Disappointment over. I'm so damn excited for 2023.

Couple relatively bold offseason predictions... mostly Lions, but some general ones too.

- Both Glenn and Johnson get interviews, but neither gets a gig. This time.

- Bears trade the #1 overall pick to the Raiders or Jets for an outrageous haul of picks.

- Three QBs go in the top five, a defensive player (maybe Tyree Wilson or Myles Murphy) has a Travon Walker esque rise through the process, and one of Will Anderson or Jalen Carter falls gift-wrapped into the Lions lap at #6.

- Holmes makes his first real splash in free agency and signs Jamel Dean to start at corner across from Okudah. Otherwise, another quiet free agency with mostly re-signings (including Jamaal Williams, DJ Chark, and Alex Anzalone). AO24 gets cut in preseason.

- Justin Jefferson sets a new standard for non-QB contracts with an extension in the ballpark of $35 million per year for 4-5 years.

- D'Andre Swift gets traded to the Bills for future draft capital after the Lions take a RB high in the draft.

 

QB Carousel:

- Jared Goff restructures his deal with Detroit (again), the deal makes it clear he will be here through at least 2024.

- Daniel Jones is announced as the Giants long-term plan at QB. Giants soon regret this.

- Lamar Jackson gets traded to the Dolphins after Tua medically retires. Ravens sign Jimmy G and draft a QB.

- Geno Smith gets franchise tagged with a chance to prove he's not a one-year wonder.

- Derek Carr gets traded to the Commanders.

- Rodgers retires. Green Bay tries Jordan Love out for size and signs Baker Mayfield to back him up.

- Brady explores free agency before eventually retiring (again). Tampa signs Sam Darnold and enters into a quasi-rebuild in the NFC South.

 

Head Coaching Carousel:

- Panthers retain Steve Wilks

- Colts hire Sean Payton (trading a 2024 1st and a 2025 3rd to the Saints)

- Cardinals hire DeMeco Ryan

- Broncos hire Jim Harbaugh

- Texans hire Jonathan Gannon

- Bill Belichick retires as coach but stays with the team, Patriots promote Jerod Mayo

- Sean McVay retires, Rams promote Raheem Morris

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I didn't realize Dean was a free agent as well. I was originally looking at Bradberry as my top guy to get, but Dean is just as good and is only 26 compared to Bradberry at 29 I believe. They are pretty equal in terms of what they bring on the field. Give me the younger Dean over Bradberry if he doesn't end up resigning in Tampa.

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There is no mythical "momentum" that carries over year to year but what there might be is belief and motivation.  When you feel like you're on the right trajectory and getting close to taking that next step it makes you want to put in that extra work that much more.

It's much like how guys seem to perform well in contract years cause they go balls to wall in the offseason to make sure they are at their best because they are super motivated. When you have a team full of young players it's far easier to get them to buy in to hitting the gym harder and working harder when they see the results of doing so vs. going 2-15 or whatever. Again though it doesn't guarantee anything next year but finishing strong is certainly better on the morale than the alternative. 

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Couple of minor quibbles...:

1 hour ago, MichiganCardinal said:

...

- Three QBs go in the top five, a defensive player (maybe Tyree Wilson or Myles Murphy) has a Travon Walker esque rise through the process, and one of Will Anderson or Jalen Carter falls gift-wrapped into the Lions lap at #6...

An OT also goes in the top 5 (IMO) and I don't think it's Anderson that falls... but maybe. So, I think it's most likely between Jalen Carter or Myles Murphy as our choice at #6, with an outside shot at Anderson. All good options, although my choices in order would be Carter, Murphy, then Anderson (I think...).

 

1 hour ago, MichiganCardinal said:

...

- Holmes makes his first real splash in free agency and signs Jamel Dean to start at corner across from Okudah. Otherwise, another quiet free agency with mostly re-signings (including Jamaal Williams, DJ Chark, and Alex Anzalone). AO24 gets cut in preseason...

I think AO24 is a UFA. Meaning: we don't resign him and he doesn't even make it to training camp with the Lions.

 

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1 hour ago, MichiganCardinal said:

Disappointment over. I'm so damn excited for 2023.

Couple relatively bold offseason predictions... mostly Lions, but some general ones too.

- Both Glenn and Johnson get interviews, but neither gets a gig. This time.

- Bears trade the #1 overall pick to the Raiders or Jets for an outrageous haul of picks.

- Three QBs go in the top five, a defensive player (maybe Tyree Wilson or Myles Murphy) has a Travon Walker esque rise through the process, and one of Will Anderson or Jalen Carter falls gift-wrapped into the Lions lap at #6.

- Holmes makes his first real splash in free agency and signs Jamel Dean to start at corner across from Okudah. Otherwise, another quiet free agency with mostly re-signings (including Jamaal Williams, DJ Chark, and Alex Anzalone). AO24 gets cut in preseason.

- Justin Jefferson sets a new standard for non-QB contracts with an extension in the ballpark of $35 million per year for 4-5 years.

- D'Andre Swift gets traded to the Bills for future draft capital after the Lions take a RB high in the draft.

 

QB Carousel:

- Jared Goff restructures his deal with Detroit (again), the deal makes it clear he will be here through at least 2024.

- Daniel Jones is announced as the Giants long-term plan at QB. Giants soon regret this.

- Lamar Jackson gets traded to the Dolphins after Tua medically retires. Ravens sign Jimmy G and draft a QB.

- Geno Smith gets franchise tagged with a chance to prove he's not a one-year wonder.

- Derek Carr gets traded to the Commanders.

- Rodgers retires. Green Bay tries Jordan Love out for size and signs Baker Mayfield to back him up.

- Brady explores free agency before eventually retiring (again). Tampa signs Sam Darnold and enters into a quasi-rebuild in the NFC South.

 

Head Coaching Carousel:

- Panthers retain Steve Wilks

- Colts hire Sean Payton (trading a 2024 1st and a 2025 3rd to the Saints)

- Cardinals hire DeMeco Ryan

- Broncos hire Jim Harbaugh

- Texans hire Jonathan Gannon

- Bill Belichick retires as coach but stays with the team, Patriots promote Jerod Mayo

- Sean McVay retires, Rams promote Raheem Morris

Pretty specific and comprehensive.  I like it.—will be fun to revisit.

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12 hours ago, buddha said:

i almoat hope they trade down from 6 and pick up another first rounder for next year.  then sell the farm to trade up for a qb next year.

The Lions have their QB.

I'm wondering what the Lions will do with their own free agents...

Williams, Chark, Cominsky, Buggs, Anzalone, Eliot. All those were key players on this team and I doubt they'll be able to re-sign all of them so some tough decisions to make this offseason. There's also 4 potential cuts that they'll need to make to free up cap space. Brockers for sure, probably Harris too then Okwara and Big V.

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