The Detroit Lions are quickly establishing themselves as favorites to win the NFC North in 2023. After a 1-6 start to the 2022 season, the Lions rebounded and finished the season with a 9-8 record. The team just missed out on a playoff berth. This offseason, Lions’ general manager went to work upgrading the roster.
After suffering through a bottom-of-the-barrel defense, Holmes overhauled Detroit’s secondary. He re-signed veteran defensive linemen and added a massive rookie at linebacker. While there is still some concern at interior defensive line, this Lions’ defense is expected to take a step forward in 2023.
Detroit’s 2022 offense was a different story. Led by quarterback Jared Goff and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, the Lions boasted a top-five offense in total yards and points scored. While running backs Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift are out the door, Holmes rebuilt the backfield with David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs. Receiver D.J. Chark was replaced with veteran Marvin Jones.
The changes on offense are at worst lateral moves. At best, the Lions have reloaded their offense to be even better in 2023.
The Detroit Lions had a productive offseason, and the team is expected to make noise in a weakened NFC. A lot of players came out of this offseason as winners, but Goff has the most to gain from the moves Detroit made entering 2023.
The Detroit Lions gave Jared Goff ample weaponry
The first win for Goff this offseason came with the return of Johnson as his play-caller. The team’s offensive coordinator received interest for head coaching positions around the league, but he ultimately decided to return for another year in the Motor City. Goff thrived in Johnson’s system. Goff threw for 4,438 yards and 29 touchdowns en route to a Pro Bowl appearance. This past season was one of Goff’s best statistically.
Along with Johnson’s return, the Lions’ offense is stacked with talent. Bringing Jones back for a second stint with the team will provide a steady receiving threat for Goff to throw to. At 6-foot-2, Jones is a bigger body for Goff to throw jump balls to. He complements Amon-Ra St. Brown in the slot and deep threat Jameson Williams once he returns from a six-game suspension.
A backfield of Montgomery and Gibbs will take a load off Goff’s back. Montgomery is a former 1,000-yard rusher who brings good size and power to run between the tackles. Gibbs is a finesse runner. The rookie brings a combination of speed and agility that make him a dangerous threat running outside the tackles and in the receiving game. After spending years in the New Orleans Saints’ system, head coach Dan Campbell knows just how dangerous a two-headed backfield with a similar complementary skillset.
Then there is the tight end room. Last season’s standout Brock Wright returns; however, the team may have found a long-term No. 1 tight end in the draft. With the 34th pick in the draft, Holmes landed Sam LaPorta. The Iowa product has some development as a contested-catch receiver before he can be a true safety blanket for Goff. But LaPorta provides break-away speed from linebackers and refined route running. He provides adequate blocking as well.
Jared Goff is due for an extension with the Detroit Lions
Despite drafting Hendon Hooker in the third round, Goff remains the plan at quarterback moving forward. Hooker, 25, brings experience and a talent level the Lions lacked in its backup quarterback position the past few seasons. There is a world where he ultimately becomes Detroit’s starting quarterback, but as long as Goff performs at a Pro Bowl level, he will be difficult to unseat.
Goff has proven himself capable of taking a team to a Super Bowl with the right supporting cast. With the roster Holmes constructed, the Lions could provide that supporting cast for the next few seasons. Most of the NFL’s talent is stockpiled in the AFC. Teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and San Fransisco 49ers will continue to hold high places in the conference, but the Lions could establish themselves right up there with them.
In an interview with 97.1 the Ticket, Holmes said the Lions have been opening talks about an extension with Goff.
“We’ve had internal dialogue there, and we’ve had dialogue with his agent. And we’re in a good place right now,” Holmes said.
The veteran quarterback’s current contract runs through the 2024 season, but if Detroit believes he is the guy, the team should not hesitate to extend him. It is likely a Goff extension is somewhere in the range of what Daniel Jones received this year. $40 million-plus average annual value is a probable number.
For more from the author, Thomas Chavez, check him out on Twitter here: @tlchavez43
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