by Rich Bystron
The 2018 Lions went through some major changes with several major changes. The biggest was 1st-year head coach Matt Patricia. Unfortunately, the season did not go to plan finishing last place in the NFC North with a 6-10 record. The bigger surprise might have been how anemic their offense could be at times. For the first time since Matt Stafford’s rookie year, the Lions failed to score 17 points in 8 games. Only scoring a total of 324 points (20.25 per game). That was actually 3 worst in the entire NFC. Obviously, major changes were coming.
The Lions entered the offseason with almost 75 million dollars to spend, and while they had a bunch of holes to fill, and they did fill a lot, they still have almost 29 million dollars left to play with.
The Lions had a boatload to spend, and they had no issue showing it! The spent almost 200 MILLION dollars in the first 48 hours of free agency, and even after all the massive contracts like Trey Flowers signing the largest contract in NFL history (outside of the quarterback position) to the tune of 90 million (18 aav), Justin Coleman 36 million (9 aav) Jessie James 22.6 million (5.65 aav), they still have nearly 29 million dollars left to spend. Unfortunately, they also lost their long-term playmaker and fan favorite Golden Tate, while they did sign underperforming Danny Amendola, he is going to leave a hole in a team that already had a rough offensive season in 2018. But the Lions did add some absolute studs on the defense, and I am sure they will improve on their middle of the pack (9th ranked) defense in the NFC. And in the all the sudden high-power NFC North, they are going to need it. They also lost Ezekiel Ansah and will have to replace the dynamic edge rusher.
The Lions own 9 picks in this years NFL draft, including 2 in the 6th and 7th rounds. But none will be as important as their 1st round, 8th overall. Luckily, the Lions kind of sit in the catbird seat. They really do not have any serious holes to fill, they may be able to gain some valuable assets if a team is looking to move up to 8th overall. But since we are not worrying about that, let us look at a few players that might be in play.
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss- Like I stated the Lions lost their go-to guy in Golden Tate, who better to replace him than with a man many have compared to longtime Lion and future Hall Of Famer Calvin Johnson? Metcalf is a physical freak, and the Lions spent so much money on the defensive side of the ball, I can see them adding who many believe to be a slam dunk player in Metcalf.
Montez Sweat, Edge, Miss St.- Sweat can be the replacement for Ansah, the only question is will he be there at 8. Ironically, Sweats climb up the draft board reminds me of Ansah in 2013.
Greedy Williams CB LSU- If there is 1 spot the Lions might be in need, its Corner. Williams is the best CB in this draft, and as I stated earlier, with the new-found offenses in the NFC North, a legit possible shut down corner is almost priceless.
The Lions have been mediocre for so long it's hard to have any legit standards for them either way. Matt Stafford might be the most polarizing QB in the NFL. Is the lack of talent on the team holding Stafford back, or is Stafford’s gunslinger mentality a noose around the Lions neck? Who knows, and honestly, while you have Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, a rapidly improving Money Mitch and the Bears, and a greatly underachieving Vikings team it might not matter. The Lions are probably an 8-8 team at best and Stafford’s not getting any younger. The Patricia hiring, in my opinion, is what will, in the end, hold that team back, and I am not sure he makes it through the season, especially if they start off as slow as I expect.