The Detroit Lions finished with a top three draft selection, a miserable 3-12-1 record and many believe they should have started over and scrapped their staff.
In spite of this, do they have the worst future of any team in the league moving forward? It would be hard to convince many negative Detroit fans this is not the case, but recently, an ESPN analyst asked the question and conveniently skipped over the Lions as an answer.
Seth Walder, an ESPN sports analytics writer, wondered aloud on Twitter which team has the bleakest future in football, then proceeded to rattle off his potential answers one by one. The Lions, somehow, didn’t make the cut. Plenty of other teams did, many of whom finished with a better record than Detroit in 2019. Here’s a look at some of the possible answers that were provided in the debate.
Obviously, many of those teams make a compelling case, but the Lions can too given they have had a couple dreadful seasons under Matt Patricia.
The fact that nobody brought up the Lions only serves to prove they are either irrelevant, or caught in the middle between teams that are decent yet not good enough to win at the highest levels.
Obviously, the goal is to get to a point where the Lions are talked about as one of the resurgent teams in the league.
Lions Cap Space in 2020
Perhaps a reason the Lions future doesn’t seem bleak is cap space. Detroit will have a decent chunk of change to spend this offseason, having restructured Matthew Stafford’s deal to push their cap space to around $50 million dollars for the coming season. With this money, the Lions will have multiple different needs to address including the defensive line, secondary as well as potential upgrades on offense.
The Lions could always open up more space with a few savvy moves, and there could be other cap casualties that might impact the team’s final salary number more dramatically ahead of March.
For now, though, the Lions have a decent amount of money to spend to patch several of the holes they will be dealing with. That could help get them out of purgatory.
Lions Biggest 2020 Free Agency Need is Defense
Detroit could not pressure the quarterback meaningfully in 2019, and struggled stopping the pass as well, something that has been painfully obvious that is a glaring problem even in spite of what the team has done in the last few offseason periods. Part of the problem has been injury, but beyond Trey Flowers and Da’Shawn Hand, the Lions simply don’t have any young building blocks they can count on right now. The team has to find some form of consistency in the trenches, and that is why it’s a major need for them moving forward.
If free agency were to begin today, the Lions would undoubtably have to look at the defensive line and the backfield for potential upgrades, with another eye at linebacker. Having some extra money could help the team make some key additions there, and patch some of their other depth holes on the offensive side.
The Lions have big needs to fix, and if they are able to patch the holes in the right way, they could make the case toward not being one of the worst teams in the league.
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