This is the most important off-season I can remember for the Lions. Lots if free agents, some cap room, we have some solid players and a ton of question marks.
To me all decisions flow together and all decisions affect one another. I believe the Lions are looking at their off-season in a similar way noting there is pretty much a hard salary cap in place. This is how I am looking at the top five decisions the Lions need to resolve and the order they need to be resolved.
I think WR Kenny Golladay needs as extension first and foremost. This guy is a stud, Stafford’s go to guy and a must lock down long-term. Kenny has earned a large contract and we need to know his numbers now as we will likely get a better price now versus letting Kenny play out 2020 with no contract. Get these numbers in place and get a deal done now. That affects $ available as Kenny will likely be one of the top paid Lions in 2021.
We need a Slay solution and we need it now. We are better with him than without him. But if he will not re-sign here we need ti trade him immediately. Get value for him now so the rest of the off-season plan can be put in place. I hope we extend him with a solid contract as he has earned it. He is a good player and we need him. If we trade him we can use that asset and we can also plan on life without Slay if necessary.
We need to lock down Graham Glasgow. There is no way we are better without Graham. Lock this guy down knowing that we can have our starting guards locked down for a few more seasons between Dahl and Glasgow. As Ragnow has three seasons left on his rookie deal that isn’t a lot to spend on what will be a solid interior in 2020.
We need an answer from Damon Harrison and tied closely to that we need to game the #3 pick. We may remain in wait-and-see mode with Harrison if he doesn’t commit to 2020 for the Lions but that also means the plan for life after Harrison needs to start in 2020 even if the big man comes back. If Harrison retires we need his replacement via a free agent in 2020 I think. This defense cannot rely upon a rookie to replace Harrison alone.
The Lions need to know what they want to do in the draft with the #3 pick as that will directly affect how we approach the rest on 2020’s free agency period.
I want to explore this one as Chase Young MIGHT be out there. Derrick Brown WILL be there. the top CB WILL be there.
To me if we go after a run stuffer that signals Harrison is gone or likely not coming back. Now…directly tied to this is the fact that the Lions signed Mike Daniels at all tells me they want a Harrison-like guy here and that we want a Mike Daniels like guy here too.
See how this is all tied together? Slay is the tough bit as we don’t get better without Slay and if we need ti get rid of Slay that signals to me at least two veteran signings as well as a top pick in the secondary. Would trading Slay yield a first round pick if necessary? That seems steep to me…but a second round pick? That might get it done. But if Slay is gone for draft picks that says to me the top CB is coming here as well as hitting free agency for a different. But we will be worse at CB in 2020 without Slay as a team trading for Say knows they can too just hit the free agency market without giving up a draft pick. In the end I think Slay stays here with an expensive extension.
IF Slay stays…pick one is unlikely to be a CB. DL is the need but Chase might be sitting there.
The more I game this out if we extend Kenny, extend Slay, extend Glasgow (all expensive moves) that signals to me that Derrick Brown will be the pick here even at #3 and possibly over Chase Young.
I expect Chase Young to go to the Panthers as their J. Peppers though. The Redskins would have a crazy, almost stupid good DL with Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis. Maybe possibly the best in the league. Young too. Ryan Kerrigan becomes an after thought there as they transition to a 4/3 defense. Scary good.
If we get DT Derrick Brown (who missed no tackles in 2019; https://www.rotoworld.com/college-football/nfl-draft/player/39288/derrick-brown) that really solidifies the DL with Flowers, Harrison (or not!), Derrick Brown and D. Hand as well as other guys.
That leads me directly to #6…DT A’Shawn Robinson. As much as I have wanted him to stay I think this is the gone guy. I think Kenny is extended, Slay stays and we extend Glasgow. I think we game drafting DT Derrick Brown and Robinson walks.
With all that in mind the rest of free agency can proceed with those moves in mind.
As $ is a scare resource that us a lot of cheddar the Lions spent. They can let Decker play out the last year of his deal while they see what happens. But more free agents will be required and I think another veteran DT is essential even if we game drafting Derrick Brown. I don’t know who but there are a lot of options out there.
Thoughts about the top options facing the Lions?