Some teams will make minimal changes this offseason. For others, this is the start of completely restructuring their roster. The Detroit Lions fall squarely into the second category.
This is the start of converting the leaky lifeboat that former general manager Bob Quinn was piecing together with the aid and advice of former head coach Matt Patricia, into something much more buoyant. In a way, the Lions were the Titanic under the previous regime. And now the ex-Patriots are going down with the ship.
Say good-bye to Jarrad Davis, Danny Shelton, Jamal Agnew, Chase Daniels, Jesse James, Desmond Trufant, Christian Jones, and Justin Coleman to name a handful. Retooling doesn’t involve purging your roster. So while new general manager Brad Holmes can call it what he wants, this is a complete rebuild.
It’s also completely necessary. When we consider the scope of how many needs the Lions have as compared to available cap space, this is the only route to go. Get rid of the driftwood that doesn’t fit and start building a new foundation.
Now there is clearly much more work to do than can be completed in one offseason. If the Lions field a team that has a few young keepers to build around next season and end up at or near the top of the draft, then that will open up more opportunities to build this thing right.
We all know that both Brad Holmes and new head coach Dan Campbell have stated that they want the Lions to be as competitive as possible next season. But we need to understand that mandate comes with an asterisk. Holmes and Campbell know full well this reclamation project isn’t going to win anything meaningful this fall.
But fielding a team that competes hard regardless of the score and actually executes its assignments is a good start. How the team is constructed also counts for quite a bit. Like Brad Holmes’ first signing this week which shouldn’t go unnoticed.