Detroit Lions: A potential free agent target unfortunately tears ACL

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

It’s no secret that the Detroit Lions will likely be in the market to add a free agent receiver this up-and-coming offseason.

Although the former regime left current Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes with a massive pile of rubble when it comes to the roster, Holmes did swing and miss three times in his first offseason at the receiver position.

Holmes tried to add a couple of cheap reclamation projects ahead of the 2021 regular season by signing veterans Tyrell Williams and Breshard Perriman to one-year deals.  Perriman failed to make the club out of camp, and Williams suffered a concussion in Week One against the San Francisco 49ers, never making another appearance and eventually agreeing to an injury settlement upon being released.

Heading into the regular season, the Broncos were loaded at the receiver position and fearing they’d agree to a trade with someone else; Holmes struck a deal to add Trinity Benson rather than sitting tight, hoping he’d just be released.  Holmes traded a 2022 fifth and seventh-round pick for Benson along with a 2023 sixth-rounder before the regular season began. Benson has been a non-factor with the Lions, even with the lack of talent at the position.

After three swings and misses at the position this past offseason, Holmes has tried to redeem himself in-season by adding veteran Josh Reynolds off of waivers from the Tennessee Titans.  Reynolds quickly made a positive impact with Detroit, plus his chemistry with quarterback Jared Goff certainly made the transition easier.

Despite the three offseason disappointments, it wasn’t a complete failure in 2021 at the receiver position.  Holmes seemed to of struck gold by drafting Amon-Ra St. Brown out of USC.

After being a fourth-round selection, St. Brown plays with a chip on his shoulder; he knows the 16 teams who picked a pass-catcher before Detroit used the 112th choice on his services.

St. Brown will look to add to his record-setting season in the final week of the season as the first rookie receiver not selected in the first three rounds to catch over 80 passes.  St. Brown currently sits with 82 grabs totaling 803 yards and four touchdowns.  He’s also chipped in with 49 rushing yards on six carries and a touchdown.  St. Brown is also the first rookie receiver in NFL history to make at least eight receptions in five consecutive games.

The Detroit Lions have a building block in Amon-Ra St. Brown but need to give him some help in 2022.

There are a plethora of big named receivers about to hit the open market this offseason but don’t expect the Detroit Lions to be participants in the Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, Odell Beckham Jr, or Mike Williams sweepstakes.

The Detroit Lions are not in a position to spend upwards of $20 million or more annually on a receiver.  The organization has many holes to fill on its roster, and paying a receiver that kind of money only to compromise the remainder of the roster wouldn’t be very intelligent.

If the Lions had a franchise-caliber quarterback on a rookie deal similar to, say, Joe Burrow and were considered NFC North contenders, my opinion on this topic would be different.

That being said, there are plenty of alternative options for far less money the Detroit Lions can explore; unfortunately, my top free-agent target for the Lions, Michael Gallup, suffered a torn ACL in Sunday’s contest while hauling in a touchdown from Dak Prescott in the Cowboys loss to Arizona.  The reports indicate that Gallup suffered a ‘clear tear,’ which will aid him as he’s expected to make a full recovery.

Not only do I expect the Detroit Lions to add a mid-level free-agent receiver, but I also expect they will use a premium draft selection on a receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Gallup had been sidelined for an extended period of time earlier in the season with a calf injury.

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The 25-year old has collected 35 receptions totaling 445 yards and two touchdowns in   21.  The former third-round selection has totaled 2,902 yards and 15 touchdowns while appearing in 55 games.