ESPN's Barnwell Says Lions Had One Of Worst Offseasons In NFL

Only three teams rank lower than Detroit.

97.1 The Ticket
May 18, 2020 - 10:36 am
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To say this offseason was important for Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia would an understatement. 

To say it was a success would be quite the stretch. 

That's according to ESPN NFL analyst Bill Barnwell, who ranked each team's roster moves 'during the player-acquisition period of the offseason,' starting Monday with the bottom eight. The Lions check in at ... No. 29. 

Barnwell judged three main areas of each team from the start of the offseason until now: roster, cap situation and future draft capital. He also considered how well they filled their needs and how shrewdly they spent their money. 

When it comes to the Lions, Barnwell doesn't approve of their latest round of additions of former Patriots, most notably LB Jamie Collins. He's also not a fan of the contracts they handed out to CB Desmond Trufant and OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai, the latter of which "looks reminiscent of the big deal that Detroit handed former starting right tackle Rick Wagner," says Barnwell. 

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"Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn elected to rebuild most of their defense by acquiring the players Bill Belichick didn't want to keep, a move that typically turns out poorly for other teams," writes Barnwell. "Jamie Collins' three-year, $30 million deal seemed particularly onerous for a linebacker who was a mess outside of New England during his run with Cleveland." 

And then there's DL Danny Shelton and S Duron Harmon. While Belichick and the Pats have developed such players into useful pieces, Barnwell says "Patricia and Quinn are trying to buy them instead."

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In the draft, Barnwell docked the Lions for failing to incite a bidding war for the No. 3 pick. And he doesn't like their decision to take RB D'Andre Swift early in the second round, considering they drafted a second-round running back two years ago in Kerryon Johnson. 

"If the Lions couldn't trade down in the first round, they should have used their second-rounder on a position that's tougher to fill than halfback," says Barnwell. 

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On the plus side, Barnwell likes the look of the Lions' new secondary. "On paper, the trio of Okudah, Trufant and Justin Coleman would rank as one of the best cornerback combinations in the league," he writes. 

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But there's work to be done elsewhere, specifically on the defensive line, where Barnwell says the Lions "look perilously thin." They could use another pass rusher, and Barnwell suggests free agent and three-time Pro Bowler Jadeveon Clowney. 

"But more realistically, this would be a landing spot for somebody like Jabaal Sheard on the edge or Marcell Dareus on the interior," he writes. "Hey, one of those guys used to play for the Patriots!" 

(That would be Sheard, for those wondering.)

The Lions still have about $30 million of cap space, so they might not be done building out their roster for 2020. If they are, well, it could have been worse.