The Detroit Lions were the “feel good” story of the 2022 season amassing a winning record for the first time since 2017. Dan Campbell has seemingly revitalized the Lions organization to be relevant in not only the NFC North, but in football. How can the Lions capitalize on their success in 2022 and parlay that into 2023?
How did Detroit get Los Angeles' Pick
2022 Record: 9-8
GM: Brad Holmes
HC: Dan Campbell
OC: Ben Johnson
DC: Aaron Glenn
Offense: 5th Scoring
Jared Goff 65.1%, 4438 29-7
Jamaal Williams 262-1066-17
D’Andre Swift 99-542-5, 48-389-3
Amon-Ra St. Brown 106-1161-6
Defense: 28th Scoring
Alex Anzalone 125 Tak
Aiden Hutchinson 9.5 Sacks, 9 TFL
Kerby Joseph/Jerry Jacobs 8 PD
Notable Free Agents:
Pos, Name, Age, Contract Status, 2022 Snap Count
WR - DJ Chark (27), Void, 46.8%
RB - Jamaal Williams (28), UFA, 40.3%
LB - Alex Anzalone (29), UFA, 95.1%
(8) Projected Cost of Rookie Picks in 2023: $14.3m
Round 1 #6
Round 1 #18
Round 2 #48
Round 2 #55
Round 3 #81
Round 5 #154
Round 6 #183
Round 6 #194
The Lions have 13.9m of cap space with 47 rostered players, and that won’t even cover their draft class (assuming they keep all of their picks). Having 5 of the first 100 selections is a nice thing to have to bring in some young talent, but Detroit has to find some money on their own team first. Jared Goff is set to count for 30.9m against the salary cap accounting for 13.7% of the Lions cap. However, he will be turning 29 and has a lot of his money tied up in base salary (20.9m). IF the Lions feel that he is their franchise guy, they can extend him AND move some of that base salary to s signing bonus and prorate his contract over the extended years. They could open up close to 20m for 2023 depending on how much they want to give him.
Romeo Okwara is another contract to look at as he has a voided year for 2024 already built in. 11m of his 14.5m cap is his base salary.
Detroit has a choice to make when it comes to re-signing some of their 2022 contributors. The two names at the top of the list are Jamaal Williams and Alex Anzalone. Anzalone amassed 125 tackles, but on a defense that finished 28th in scoring. Williams really broke out in 2022 scoring 17 rushing touchdowns and running for over 1,000 for the first time in his career. He isn’t the typical 27-year-old running back because in 6 seasons he barely has over 1,000 touches. He is still fresh, so the Lions have to make a decision if they want to go younger in the draft or offer him a 3-year affordable deal. With D’Andre Swift coming on late in the season (and in a contract year), Detroit will have a decision to make.
Due to the aforementioned salary cap situation, don’t expect the Lions to make a big splash in free agency, and having two first and two second round picks (and seeing as the draft is the cheapest way to add players to your roster) Detroit will look to fill their roster on April 27th. Many of the pundits have the Lions solidifying their defense given the fact that they have to take care of their division first. They could go edge rusher and corner in the first round (depending on which picks fall to them) and then go offensive heavy in the second round.
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