As the Detroit Lions begin their preparations for the 2017 NFL season, they are currently doing so without a full stable of reliable receivers. Sure, they have Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, who are both solid, but after that, there is much left to be desired.
With Anquan Boldin becoming a free agent following the 2016 season, it was apparent that GM Bob Quinn would have to address the Lions receiver situation, either via free agency or the NFL Draft. Well, Quinn went out and used a 3rd Round pick on Kenny Golladay, a 6-4, 213 lb receiver out of Northern Illinois. Now, don't get me wrong, I have to admit that I am a bit intrigued by Golladay, especially with the early reports out of OTAs. But it is a real possibility that he could be a project-type player who takes a couple of years to really come into his own.
If Golladay shines in training camp and during the preseason, problem solved, but chances are that will not happen. So, unless the Lions go out and sign a free agent, they will be rolling with Jace Billingsley or Jared Abbrederis as their options for the No. 3 receiver and that is unacceptable.
Here are two free agent receivers who could come in and bridge the gap until Golladay is ready to make his presence known in the NFL. As you will quickly notice, there is not much to choose from at this point.
Stevie JohnsonJun 14, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Stevie Johnson catches a pass during minicamp at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Stevie Johnson, who is 30-years-old, is a receiver who could provide a spark for the Lions even though he missed the entire 2016 season after having meniscus surgery. While in his prime with the Buffalo Bills, Johnson put together three-straight 1,000-yard seasons and was a force to be reckoned with as he caught 23 touchdowns over that span. At 6-foot-2, 210 lbs, he could still have the ability to be a possession receiver in the NFL.
Anquan BoldinJanuary 7, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Anquan Boldin (80) runs the ball against the defense of Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) and strong safety Rafael Bush (31) during the first half in the NFC Wild Card playoff football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
At this point, I believe the Lions should strongly consider bringing back Anquan Boldin for the 2017 season. Despite being 36-years-old (turns 37 in October), Boldin proved in 2016 that he still has some gas left in his tank, catching 67 passes for 584 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns. Though the grizzled vet is not going to stretch the field, he still has the ability to be a solid possession receiver for Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense.