For the Lions to start to turn a corner in 2022 they need health, another great draft, a signature free agent and a number of great value free agents. Last year Holmes added Charles Harris and RB Jamaal Williams as value free agents and those guys were great.
I expect Charles Harris should be back.
In the safety debate concerning Tracy Walker I believe the Lions need to go all in on 26 year old (in September) Marcus Williams. Marcus is a guy this staff knows and Marcus has arrived as a player. Go get him.
The cap is always tight meaning 2nd tier free agents will have to work out. To that end I see a couple bargain free agents we should target:
SS Jabrill Peppers. Injured again? Yep. But we need an enforcer and if we put him in the box Peppers might be just what we need and the price should be right. Peppers and Williams is a solid group and if we also add rookie safety talent that position group might just be okay.
WR James Washington. Add out #1 WR in the draft at the end of rd 1. or early in rd. 2. But we need another solid WR who makes this team better and I think that is WR James Washington. I don’t know why folks are down on him but I thing a WR crew that looks like Washington, a rookie, Amon Ra, Josh Reynolds, Cephus and maybe Kalif Raymond looks really good to me.
LBer Leighton Vander Esch. Just turned 26:
" Vander Esch has had an up and down first four years in the NFL, but the talent that made him a first-round pick in 2018 still flashes on occasion and will certainly draw attention. Vander Esch earned a 90.0-plus grade in three starts in 2021, including two such outings over the final five weeks. If he can play more consistently week to week, teams may view him as a low-risk, high-reward option in a weak linebacker class.
Projected contract: Three years, $25.5 million ($8.5M per year, $16.5 million total guaranteed)"
DT Akiem Hicks. 33 in December:
" PFF Free Agency Rank : 23
2021 Snaps: 304
2021 PFF grade: 72.3 (23rd of 125)
Hicks was yet another established veteran seeking a well-deserved contract extension prior to the 2021 season, with his agent Drew Rosenhaus going so far as to spend a few days at Bears training camp in an effort to get something done. Nevertheless, no agreement was reached, and Hicks then battled a nagging groin injury in his contract year. He still maintained his very high floor of play, earning a 72.3 grade (23rd), driven by a strong 71.9 pass-rush grade (29th).
Projected contract: Two years, $17 million ($8.5M per year, $12.5 million total guaranteed)"
If the Lions can do that as well as re-sign Charles Harris and Josh Reynolds I think we will have hope.
Jalen Reeves Maybin might just be too much to bring back and the signing of special team LBer Josh Woods and FB Cabinda points to not needing an expensive LBer who is a cusp LB starter for the Lions.
Can the Lions sign WR Josh Reynolds and Charles Harris as well as high priced safety Marcus Williams and then Peppers, WR James Washington, Vander Esch and DT Hicks? That is serious cheddar BUT…only top positional $ for Williams. All others are far from top-of-the-market deals. I can see the Lions being interested in every one of these guys and I see these positions as MUST address this off-season. Safety play killed us in 2021. Time to be bold there. We need at least one credible LBer and Vander Esch might be just what we need next to a rookie/Barnes.
The Lions cannot afford to act like the old Redskins. Value free agents are the key to the 2022 Lions and I think guys like this (there are other options at every position) are critical to Holmes and Campbell turning this around. Thoughts?