General manager Bob Quinn fielded questions from the media Wednesday at the NFL combine on behalf of the Detroit Lions. During his address, he confirmed the beginning of negotiations with offensive linemen Riley Reiff and Larry Warford.
The two linemen made up the right side of the Lions young offensive line last season. It also marked Reiff’s first season as an NFL right tackle after spending the beginning of his career at left tackle. Reiff struggled to adapt to his new position and battled a hip injury that kept him out the final two games of the season.
Warford has molded himself into one of the better guards in the NFL. The 25-year-old third round pick was one of the most stable linemen in a struggling season of growth for the young line.
The draft doesn’t feature many top-tier linemen in early rounds and Detroit’s free agents are some of the best available targets on the market. Considering their lack of current quality depth, retaining their own guys could be in the best interest of this team. Graham Glasgow showed upside while filling in for center Travis Swanson as well as struggling guard Laken Tomlinson, but a young OL across the board could be dangerous.
Reiff and Warford have started a combined 126 games while the rest of the line totals only 66. The Lions will return next season with a healthy Swanson and a budding left tackle in Taylor Decker.
The offense needs upgrades all around, but it must start with the offensive line. If the Lions want to improve from being the 30th ranked rushing team as well as protecting their franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford, it has to begin up front.
Locking up Stafford long-term financially is another priority for Bob Quinn and the Lions. Keeping his jersey clean and protecting him should be another as well. Bringing back Warford and Reiff gives Detroit the best chance of doing that.