The Importance of 2022 Value Free Agents

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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)"

  1. 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?


Here’s my thing with James Washington. If we’re going that route then we need to make a commitment to throwing the ball down the field. The only thing I thought he was truly special at while at OSU was the ball tracking.

I wonder if he played CF in High School.

Who? … I assume you meant Williams?

Here’s how I think we will approach free agency.

  1. No high priced targets. Mostly quality bread and butter type players. Or young players looking for a fresh start. Much like Charles Harris.

  2. No aging high priced veterans. I do think we need some veteran leadership. If we sign any aging vets it will be to one year deals.

  3. Try to resign our own. I think the Lions will make a real effort to reign Harris, Walker, JRM, And Reynolds.

I think Boyle, Raymond, and Crosby might be brought back.

I’m not expecting us to make any huge splashes in free agency.


I assume the approach will be much more as Air has stated.
They may pickup one high priced guy
Not sure about Walker … could go either way

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Yes Jamaal Williams! Mixing up Charles Harris and Jamaal Williams.

None of us know what the Lions are planning but teams often have success when they target the right players in free agency and if you draft well that is a recipe for success. Of the free agents I mentioned I think the Lions will either re-sign Tracy Walker or they will decide to go after Marcus Williams. Whatever path they choose that free safety spot will get filled. I didn’t mention this but we should extend CB AO right now too. He deserves a payday and he can feel better about long term security here.

In terms of a WR the Lions HAVE to sign one more guy in addition to re-signing Josh Reynolds. In 12 games with the Lions Josh put up a respectable 13.7 YPC average. If we think about what Brad tried to do in 2021 with Tyrell Williams and Perriman Brad can have that combo with Josh and James Washington as James will become our deep threat and Josh can play that role too. Add a solid rookie WR (I think there are 3-5 rookie WRs that can step in and play right now…Treylon Brooks, Drake London, George Pickens, Dotson and David Bell all look legit to me). James Washington is not a break the bank guy but he would play a solid role here as we field a deep and good WR crew.

This isn’t a great class of NFL free agents but the Lions don’t need that. The Lions need viable starters more than anything AND key rotational players. I will be disappointed if the Lions mostly bring back what we had. I LOVE me some Jalen Reeves maybin but I don’t think he is a viable starter at LBer. Yes he made plays at critical times in 2021 but he isn’t a great starting LBer. LBer KVE seems like a Holmes guy in that he can play, he has had injuries but he is still young and he isn’t likely to be a top-of-the market guy. Getting a KVE to pair with Barnes and hopefully a rookie LBer and maybe even Jalen RM would finally give us LBers worth a damn. ESP. if we draft another rookie in rounds 1-3.

Finally, the DL is an issue. Even if Levi and Alim take a big step forward we need that critical 3rd DT that can make plays. I like Penisini as the #4 DT and depth for Alim but we need a step up from Nick Williams and Hicks would be a guy who can play that role.

How aggressive will Holmes be in 2022 is the question. I see the Bengals making a lot of moves in 2021 ( and in 2020 they brought in DT DJ Reader. That build a free agent foundation that combined with solid drafting helped put them in the Super Bowl. We all know the Rams get after it using draft picks for proven players as well as important free agents.

To me this is the free agent class that will help turn the Lions around in 2022 but likely in 2023 when the Lions might actually be REALLY good. If the Lions can string together 2/3 good drafts in a row (a VERY rare situation in Detroit) AND if they spend $ wisely right now I see hope.

If we can finish the WR position group the offense should be very solid in 2022 with Goff. The 2021 Lions were 25th in TDs scored with 35. The Rams scored 52 TDs in 2021 for comparison and that was 9th in the league. The Lions have to find a way to get to the 45-50 range and a deep WR crew is a great way to do that.

On defense the team was a train wreck most weeks. 31 passing TDs allowed. That has to get better and keeping our own doesn’t make me feel like those numbers will improve if we bring back the same group of players overall. Thank for the great insight guys.

Vander Esch has had 2 separate injuries with his neck, and the latest required surgery.

For LBs… that typically means a shorter career than average. I don’t see him fitting into the plan here.

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It’s my understanding that since year two he’s been a JAG

He had his neck surgery in the 2nd half of 2019 (his 2nd season)… so perhaps there is a correlation there.

That’s precisely why I’d steer clear of any significant investment in KVE and why I prefer my man crush this offseason, KVE 2.0, Troy Andersen.

Holmes is looking to build this team through the draft. Him and Coach Campbell have both said they aren’t afraid to play rookies and we saw that last year. All our draft picks played last year, many of them started. I’m not expecting any big free agent splashes. Not going to be any Trey Flowers type of deals being handed out. I’m sure we will bring in some vets on 1 year deals, similar to how we brought in Charles Harris and Anzalone on 1 year deals.

One guy I think we should bring back is Josh Reynolds, maybe a 2 year deal. Him and Goff seem to have a good connection and the offense looked much better when he came over and he’s actually got some size being 6’3. We had way too many tiny WR’s on the roster last year.

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So were going to suck again?

If we take Andersen… they could utilize his previous experience as a QB in a short-yardage wild-cat look. He is a little bigger than Taysom Hill and has plenty of speed. I realize his stats were inflated due to level of competition, but the guy is tough to tackle.

Also… found this interesting bit from a Jim Nagy interview:

Nagy has a similar draft projection. He talked about Andersen’s pro potential, his performance during Senior Bowl week and more in a phone interview Tuesday with

NOTE: This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

: Now that you’ve had a chance to look over Troy’s film from the week, what stood out most?

JN: Troy had a really good week. He probably helped himself as much as anyone in the game. His physicality and strength were better than what I’d seen on Montana State tape. What you did see on Montana State tape that translated here as well was the speed. That’s with the eyeball test but also with the Zebra Technologies GPS tracking data. His stuff was off the charts. In terms of like max acceleration, I think he had the third fastest max acceleration of the week, and the only two guys faster were DBs (Tennessee’s Alontae Taylor and Auburn’s Roger McCreary), on the defensive side of the ball. He was a top linebacker in that category. So yeah, he showed off his speed, playing downhill more physically and really had a nice game. Showed up a bunch in the game and on special teams in the game. He was the first one down on kickoff team by a wide margin.

I was a little skeptical of him because he is a converted player, and the scouting reports mentioned trouble with coverage ability. Now that I have taken a little time to watch some more of him… I like his potential quite a bit.

Haha I don’t think they’ll suck. We saw a team that got better as the season went along last year, that’s a good sign. They are going to have a roster loaded with starters who are rookies and 2nd year players. I think they got a shot to win 7 or 8 games. Heck, we were very close to winning 6 games this past year. It’s going to be an extremely young team with a lot of potential.

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I like this point and there are other options for LBer for sure. KVE played in 17 games in 2021 and graded ou well in a number of those games AND played well late in the season. The article I linked noted this:
“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.”

I can see Holmes looking at Peppers and KVE the same way. Talented players who will not break the bank who play positions of need and will not be expensive to take a shot.

And the schedule will be a lot easier!!

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A guy I’d like to see us take a flyer on is Maurice Hurst. I’m not a Michigan fan and I know, the heart thing, but he’d come cheap, and in 2020 when he was healthy with the Raiders he had one of the highest pressure grades for an interior defensive lineman. Then SF signed him and he got hurt. We could use some of that interior pressure.

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That is interesting about Hurst.

There is another safety we could also look at. The Bucs Jordan Whitehead. Just 24 years old.

There are options in this free agency class but not many elite guys. I am hoping Holmes is aggressive going after these second level guys as I see this as key to turning this team around starting in 2022.

He is type of one year deal player we can use. There are others also we could add while we get the young guys ready.

I think we take one by end of rd 3 at least one even if we take Hutch.

I feel if they resign Raymond an Reynolds there price will be likely half or little more than what you get for big ticket WR.

They give us 4 WR which is 3 more than we started last season.
We can add one high in draft can get a good one even in rd 3 .

I expect we resign more who earned it based on last season an then maybe couple of high priced like a Wallace to pair with Walker unless Walker ask for to much.
The rebuild has just been one year they will look for couple of young studs like Wallace to continue build.

I don’t expect high price older players. Unless on one year deals for experience.
Think about what will come back from injury an lets say we resign guys who earned a deal based on last season

My list would be
Harris Edge
Reynolds WR
Brown C/OG
Walker S
ST players K an P /Snap
You get them along with are injured coming back the cup board is not as empty as last season start. Remember most ERFA will be back until released.

Its the Detroit fucking lions. We will suck again. Lets spend on depth that worked well last 5 years or so.

Well great to hear some positivity, lol The odds are clearly in your favor of being right. We have done a lot of sucking over the years, but we will always have that preseason championship in 2008.

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