Lions 2021 Free Agency Progress and Roster Needs

Updated: Mar 28

In my post from March 1, I examined the holes in the Lions roster, along with some predictions of those players who might be leaving us.

In short, of the 17 names I predicted, 16 have now left (the only remaining player of these is DT Nicholas Williams, who took a pay cut to remain with the team - as per this piece by Jeff Risdon @ Lions Wire).

In addition, the following players have also departed:

K Matt Prater

WR/CB/PR/KR Jamal Agnew WR Mohamed Sanu

RB Adrian Peterson

C Russell Bodine

LB Jarrad Davis

CB Darryl Roberts

Allowing for the retention, and the extra leavers, this would have left the needs as so:

1 QB

4 WR

1 RB

1 TE

3 OL


1 DE

3 LB

4 CB

2 S

1 K

The Lions have been moderately busy in free agency and the trade market, bringing in the following players:

QB Tim Boyle (from GB)

RB Jamaal Williams (from GB)

WR Tyrell Williams (from LV)

WR Breshad Perriman (from NYJ)

WR Damion Ratley (from HOU)

WR Kalif Raymond (from TEN)

TE Josh Hill (from NO)

DT Michael Brockers (via trade from LAR for a 2023 7th round pick)

DE Charles Harris (from ATL)

OLB Alex Anzalone (from NO)

K Randy Bullock (from CIN)

Assuming that each of these makes the roster (which is reasonable, but not a given - Randy Bullock will find himself in a battle in camp for his spot), this gives the updated needs chart to be:

1 WR

3 OL

2 LB

4 CB

2 S

which is a total of 12 players. If Detroit does indeed draft the 6 picks that they have in the 2021 draft, that will leave 6 further spots to fill, assuming that they always draft a position of need (which again is not a given). I also believe that the above understates the number of Wide Receivers required, which I think is probably two. I'll build on this list shortly when I review the Lions likely 2021 NFL Draft strategy.

New Player Profiles

Let's have a look at your new Detroit Lions:

QB Tim Boyle (PFR stats)

The above drives are from preseason games, but his accuracy, recognition and arm talent are not to be dismissed. He threw in the 2019 preseason for 6 TDs to 0 INTs. Contrast that with his college career: Boyle went undrafted out of EKU via UConn. He threw for 12 TDs to 26 INTs, including 1 TD for 13 INTs at UConn before transferring. His contract with the Lions is 1 year, $2.5m, fully guaranteed at signing. He should be competing with David Blough for the QB2 spot which should be competative. Given the contract given, he should be the early favourite.

RB Jamaal Williams (PFR stats)

I don't think you can watch the above and not be impressed. Jamaal, in the backup role behind Aaron Jones for his entire pro career so far, has rushed for between 460 and 556 yards each season in his four years in the league, at an average of 4.0 yards per carry. He's also been productive in the receiving game, with at least 25 receptions each season at an average of 7.9 yards per reception, a 78.7 catch percentage, for a total of 18 all-purpose TDs. He's also instantly the funniest guy in the locker room, just watch his introductory presser:

The other thing that he clearly brings is absolutely the right attitude. If you don't have the patience to watch the above, the line that stood out to me was:

"[I'm] made for pass protection"