On Tuesday morning, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell was asked which positions he believed to be a priority this offseason after spending the last month on the job analyzing his own roster. His answers were quite revealing.
“It’s no secret that wide receiver is somewhat of a need,” Campbell said. “Cornerback, we don’t have a lot of depth.”
Wide receiver is an obvious answer. All three starters from last year are set to become free agents and Detroit has yet to reveal their plans for Kenny Golladay. However, cornerback is a much more interesting admission by Campbell. The Lions currently have four corners under contract, all of whom are capable of starting: Desmond Trufant, Justin Coleman, Jeff Okudah, and Amani Oruwariye.
Of course, the situation isn’t as simple as that. While Okudah and Oruwariye are young players that have already received praise from the new coaching staff, Detroit’s two veteran corners are nowhere near as safe in Detroit. Trufant is 30 years old and set to count $12.2 million against the cap in 2021. Coleman has an $11 million cap number this year and hasn’t lived up to expectations since Detroit handed him a lucrative contract two years ago. If the Lions were to cut both players, they’d create over $11 million in cap space, which this team desperately needs.
Later in his press conference, Campbell was asked directly about his thoughts on both Coleman and Trufant, and it’s safe to say he made some not-so-subtle hints about their futures.
“(Lions GM) Brad (Holmes) and I have talked about all that, and I would say there’s going to be some things that go down this week, one way or another,” Campbell said. “When all that happens, you’ll know, but I don’t want to get too deep into all that.”
While Campbell never went into specifics of what “things” will go down this week, it’s not hard to connect the dots. Coleman and Trufant don’t seem long for the roster.
If that’s the case, cornerback will shoot to the top of Detroit’s priority list. Detroit likes their young players in the secondary, but know they need depth to make them better plays.
“I just know overall we need competition in that area,” Campbell said. “We need depth in areas, we need competition. Because, for example, we’ve got two young cornerbacks. Man, you still want competition. You want guys that they’re having to compete (with) and are able to push them or they’re pushing for that starting position. It’s just healthy. It makes you better.”
Detroit has internal options they could bring back in 2021. Darryl Roberts and Tony McRae were both depth options last year that provided some value on special teams. But if Detroit truly wants players that can push Okudah and Oruwariye, expect them to be active in free agency and the draft at cornerback.