Detroit Lions NFL offensive free agent targets

The Detroit Lions are building a complete roster in anticipation of a playoff run in 2024.

After tasting success with their trip to the NFC Championship last year, the Lions are looking to take the next step and reach the Super Bowl this season. Dan Campbell‘s team has plenty of talent and depth across the board.

However, the organization has also hit the free agent market in years past prior to training camp. They’re notorious for their thorough evaluations that limit the players that they take interest in, so projecting future additions can be tough.

Here are seven offensive free agents the Lions could target prior to the start of training camp in 2024.

WR Michael Thomas

With Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn having ties to the Saints, there’s a connection to arguably the top free agent still available. Detroit still has questions at the wide receiver position, and Thomas is the most proven player still available.

In his prime, Thomas was one of the best active wideouts in the league. However, injuries have hampered his performance over the last three seasons in which he has played a total of three games.

Now 31 years old, Thomas could be looking for one more shot in the league. He fits a need for Detroit, who could take a chance on him to see if he can regain his top form.

TE Logan Thomas

The Lions have brought in multiple veteran tight ends to compete for roster spots, but neither Parker Hesse or Sean McKeon have the level of production that Thomas has had over the course of his career.

Thomas is familiar with the Lions’ organization, as he played for the organization in 2020. A potential reunion would allow him to compete for a spot against the young talents on roster such as Shane Zylstra and James Mitchell.

Sam LaPorta could emerge into one of the league’s best at the position in his second year, while Brock Wright has earned the trust of the coaching staff as the second option. Yet, Thomas would give the team a solid veteran as the third option who can also help on special teams.

WR Corey Davis

Davis is an interesting story, as he applied for reinstatement after stepping away from the game last season. The former top-five pick never quite lived up to his billing but was able to string together solid seasons in Tennessee.

Most recently with the Jets, Davis mustered 1,028 yards over two campaigns in Detroit. Still, he’s just 29 and could have more left in the tank. With the uncertainty surrounding the Lions’ receiving depth, the organization could benefit from giving him a chance.

C Mason Cole

The Lions have one of the league’s best offensive lines when all are healthy. However, as is the nature of the position, injuries sometimes rear their head and leave the unit without all of its pieces.

Frank Ragnow, Detroit’s All-Pro center, has struggled with injuries in recent years. Though he’s among the toughest players in the league and routinely plays through setbacks, the Lions could benefit from having insurance.

Detroit brought in multiple undrafted free agents to compete for a job, and they already have Graham Glasgow as a potential backup. However, the best version of Detroit’s line features Glasgow at guard and as a result, the Lions could use a true backup center.

Cole is a six-year NFL vet who has made 73 starts across stints with Arizona, Minnesota and Pittsburgh. He could prove valuable in a pinch if needed.

G Halapoulivaati Vaitai

After injuries limited Vaitai over the last two seasons, there have been no reports about a possible reunion. However, that could be tied to his health as he continues to recover from his season-ending injury last season.

When healthy, Vaitai was a nice piece for the Lions on their offensive line. Though Glasgow out performed him last year, the veteran could provide good training camp competition with the potential to be on the team’s practice squad in case of emergency should he not make the roster.

QB Ryan Tannehill

If the Lions don’t feel confident about Hendon Hooker’s ability to claim the backup job, they could seek out another veteran to push the Tennessee product behind starter Jared Goff. Currently, Hooker is battling with Nate Sudfeld.

Last year, the Lions benefited greatly from bringing in Teddy Bridgewater behind Goff. Though he wasn’t needed to play meaningful snaps, all indications pointed to Bridgewater being an outstanding mentor for Detroit’s young players.

Could the Lions follow a similar model by bringing in Tannehill? The veteran has played plenty and took the Titans to the AFC title game in 2020. He could provide stability or at the very least push Hooker as the second-year passer looks to continue improving.

WR Quintez Cephus

Another former Lion who could make a return is Cephus, who was recently reinstated by the league after serving a suspension for a gambling violation. C.J. Moore, who was also suspended for last season, has returned to the Lions.

Cephus initially inked a deal with the Buffalo Bills, but was quickly released. He had a strong start to the 2021 campaign but has been limited by injuries since. He would bring intrigue as competition for Detroit’s young and unproven talent at the position.

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