We are getting close, ladies and gentlemen. The franchise tag window has opened today. The NFL Combine starts at the end of the month on February 26th. And the legal tampering period, which is essentially the start of NFL free agency, opens in less than three weeks on March 11th. Football is basically back! 

And the Detroit Lions, at least from an offensive weapons standpoint, are pretty much ready to compete right now. Let’s take a look at the roster, the depth chart, the contracts, and the salary cap to see what we can predict in free agency both for Lions fans and fantasy football gamers alike!

*The salary cap numbers referenced in this article come courtesy of our friends over at Spotrac.com*

Fantasy Football Depth Chart: Detroit Lions


Jared Goff

Hendon Hooker

Nate Sudfeld


Running Back

David Montgomery

Craig Reynolds


Running Back

Jahmyr Gibbs

Zonovan Knight


Wide Receiver

Amon-Ra St. Brown

Antoine Green


Wide Receiver

Josh Reynolds

Donovan Peoples-Jones


Wide Receiver

Jameson Williams

Kalif Raymond


Tight End

Sam LaPorta

Brock Wright

James Mitchell

Shane Zylstra

 White = unrestricted free agent

Green = role is safe

Yellow = role could be in jeopardy

Red = could be traded or released





Jared Goff: Folks essentially wrote Jared Goff off as a tank commander for the Lions after the Stafford trade. But Brad Holmes believed in him with the Rams and that’s why he brought him to the Lions. Barring a massive implosion, Goff will likely sign an extension to stay with the Lions. But he’s under contract for 2024 so he’s locked in for this year at the very least. 

Hendon HookerHooker tore his ACL in his final year of college so he was never in the discussion to have any shot at the starting job. And, for the short term, there is no discussion. He’s healthy now and they have a solid backup under contract on a cheap deal so it’s a good situation for the Lions.  

Nate SudfeldWith Hooker recovered from the knee injury, they have no need for Sudfeld.  

LIONS QB FREE AGENCY TAKE: For 2024, the Lions don’t need to make any moves at QB in free agency unless they want to carry an emergency third QB. The only question is whether they extend Jared Goff now or not.

Running Back

David MontgomeryFor many modern NFL organizations, running back is no longer a linear position. The days of Priest Holmes getting 400 touches with Larry Johnson getting 20 (then Larry Johnson getting 400 when Holmes gets hurt) are over for the most part. David Montgomery has been a great upgrade to Jamaal Williams for the early down rushing work so they’re likely very happy with what they have. 

Jahmyr Gibbs: We talked about this all offseason. If any team was going to have a 2017 Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara 1-2 punch in fantasy football, it would be this team. And it was. Jahmyr Gibbs is not only on a rookie deal but, since he’s a first-round pick, they have the fifth-year option for four more years of control. He’s looking like a dynamic player so far and should only get better.

Craig ReynoldsReynolds is an exclusive rights free agent meaning they could bring him back for around $1 million with no competition. He’s a solid player who also returns kicks so I absolutely foresee them doing that. 

Zonovan KnightKnight saw some brief success for the New York Jets but they were loaded at RB and let him go. He’s an exclusive rights free agent like Craig Reynolds but, unlike Reynolds, I’m less convinced they take the option. But it is fairly affordable and then the team would be fairly set at running back. 

LIONS RB FREE AGENCY TAKE: As I mentioned above with Knight, the Lions really don’t NEED to do anything at RB if they pick up the two ERFA deals. If they do, we are talking about depth players that also contribute on special teams. That’s the luxury of having Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery.


Wide Receiver

Amon-Ra St. BrownThe most productive players in fantasy football are guys who play a lot of slot in three WR sets then move to flanker for two WR sets. CeeDee Lamb, Cooper Kupp, Keenan Allen. That’s what ARSB has developed into. He’s locked in. 

Josh ReynoldsThis is one weapon spot where they could really upgrade. Josh Reynolds has been a serviceable player, but he also plays a very important role as the big split end that tethers his foot to the line. Reynolds is an undrafted free agent, and we’ll speculate below on what this offense could look like with an upgrade at this spot. 

Jameson WilliamsWhat happens with that split end role will be crucial for the upside for Jameson Williams. We talked about about Amon-Ra St. Brown and his role. The question now is who the odd man out would be in two WR sets. If they upgrade to a big split end, Jameson Williams would be relegated to the third fiddle who comes on to stretch the field. 

However, if they don’t spend up there, maybe Jameson Williams is a full-time guy with the other WR being the odd man out (think about how the Jaguars do it with Calvin Ridley and Christian Kirk with Zay Jones as the split end who only comes on for three WR sets). So free agency and the draft here is critical for Jamo moving forward.

Donovan Peoples-JonesDPJ became expendable in Cleveland so Detroit gave him a shot at split end but the big WR never really carved out a role. Maybe they want to give him another go but I imagine he’s gone as an unrestricted free agent. 

Kalif RaymondRaymond returned literally every single punt for the Lions this year. That’s a big reason why his roster spot is safe.

Antoine GreenLike most 7th round wide receivers, he has an uphill battle to fantasy relevancy. In fact, he has an uphill battle to making the team every year given he can be released for very little money. Of the guys under contract, he’s at the bottom of the totem pole.

LIONS WR FREE AGENCY TAKE: The Lions might want to spend their money on the defense. It’s probably the smart thing to do. But just think about how much success Chris Godwin had as the slot/flanker playing alongside Mike Evans. Now imagine how loaded the offense would be if they did pay up for a big split end. 

So even though it probably won’t happen, here are a few dream options (as well as a couple more realistic ones. They could also throw the Patriots a 7th round pick for a guy like DeVante Parker if they really wanted. 

POSSIBLE SPLIT END OPTIONS: Mike Evans, Michael Pittman, Tee Higgins, DeMarcus Robinson, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine-Ihkine


Tight End

Sam LaPortaWhat else needs to be said about Sam LaPorta? We knew he had the pass-catching chops, but he came out year one and proved that he could be reliable full-time, inline tight end. And he put to rest the “rookie tight ends can’t produce” nonsense by finishing as the TE1 in fantasy football. The only thing that could disrupt him for your fantasy leagues is the signing of a high-end split end like I mentioned above but that is more of a pipe dream.

Brock WrightBrock Wright is not only a decent blocking tight end, but he can be serviceable in the pass game. Thing is, he’s a restricted free agent and they might not want to tender him at the $2.8 million dollar with James Mitchell under contract as a blocking tight end. If they can bring Wright back on a multi-year deal with a cheaper AAV than that $3 million number, I think that would be best for everyone and the TE room would be pretty set. 

Shane Zylsta: If the Lions do let Brock Wright walk, they could have Mitchell as the blocking tight end with Zylstra as backup pass catcher. He can be kept for cheap on an exclusive rights free agent deal. But they don’t need to keep four or five tight ends. 

Anthony FIrkser: Firkser basically operates the way Zylstra does as a part time, pass down only tight end out of the slot. He’s an unrestricted free agent and they really don’t need two of these guys. They might not need either. 

LIONS TE FREE AGENCY TAKE: The Lions don’t really need to do much at tight end. They have a starter and a blocking tight end under contract. They just need someone that can catch passes in a pinch if LaPorta goes down and they have three different options already that are familiar with the team. So, they should be able to figure that out.

NFL Free Agency Previews

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