Like every team during the offseason, the Detroit Lions should be scrambling to find free agents to sign. Last year’s offseason saw productive signings like running back Reggie Bush, which worked wonders for the team despite a poor finish overall.
So far, the Lions have already brought on a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator. They have also began work on fixing the holes in the team’s secondary by signing defensive back Isa Abdul-Quddus. When coupled with smart signings, new head coach Jim Caldwell’s prediction for a ring could come true.
Here are some potential free agents that could vastly improve the team’s playoff hopes:
Tight Ends: Jimmy Graham, Garrett Graham and Dennis Pitta
Though the Detroit offense possesses an immense amount of talent, including Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, there are still spots to be strengthened. One position which has seen particularly disappointing weaknesses has been the tight end position.
When Stafford’s under pressure, he needs a reliable target he could dump the ball to. More specifically, he needs a target that will not drop the pass. With all the talent on the free agency list at the tight end position, the Lions cannot afford to miss out.
Historically, tight ends that have played under Jim Caldwell have done very well with their quarterbacks.
Two seasons ago in Baltimore, Dennis Pitta caught 61 passes for 669 total yards and seven touchdowns. Luckily, the Lions have a chance to capitalize on that productivity by reuniting Pitta with his former offensive coordinator.
Another free agent tight end, Jimmy Graham, may be a stretch, but fans can dream, right?
With Brandon Pettigrew entering free agency, the starting tight end spot in Detroit is up for grabs. Though the 2013 season saw the rise of backup Joseph Fauria, Pettigrew usually started.
Rumors indicate that other teams like the Packers and Falcons are looking to sign Pettigrew.
They can have him.
Pettigrew has enormous potential for a great season, but so far he’s been too spotty and unreliable. Fauria has been a much more viable option, but he’s not a permanent fix.
Last season, Pettigrew caught around two-thirds of every ball thrown his way. Yet, in 14 games, he only caught two touchdowns and put up 416 yards. Garrett Graham, on the other hand, contributed 545 yards and five touchdowns to his team.
Though these are not Jimmy Graham numbers (1,215 receiving yards as well as 16 touchdowns), I’ll take Garrett’s two career fumbles over Pettigrew’s six and countless dropped passes. He may be a shot in the dark, but he could bring a high reward if he produces to full potential when paired with a reliable quarterback.
Cornerbacks: Aqib Talib
Last year, the Lions’ pass protection was less than spectacular. Overall, the team ranked 23rd in the league in opponent passing yards. The Detroit offense can perform well, but if the team truly wants to dominate, they need a corner that can stop opposing receivers from big gains.
Aqil Talib could do wonders for the team’s pass coverage if the Lions could sign him. With 23 career interceptions, Talib’s presence in a Lions jersey would likely reduce the amount of large passing gains for opposing teams.
Colin Jackson is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.