I believe the Detroit Lions have a unique problem. They have a top 5 general Manager in Brad Holmes and a bad head coach in Dan Campbell. After the news of the TJ Hockenson trade to the Minnesota Vikings, I believe Brad Holmes sees the writing on the wall with Dan Campbell and is looking to secure himself a second chance in Detroit.
It’s really an easy sell once you think about it. A growing number of the Lions’ fan base has grown tired of Campbell’s schtick, and Holmes’ approval rating is still sky-high. Holmes is stockpiling pick after pick, and Campbell is just 4-19-1 through his first 24 games in Detroit, with likely a lot more losses coming this year. Holmes knows the obvious – head coaches don’t survive that, especially a head coach who may very likely be bad.
Holmes has been better at his job than Dan Campbell has been at his since they both arrived in Detroit in 2021. Usually, when a coach and general manager enter an organization together at the same time, they are attached at the hip – if one goes, the other follows. What’s important to remember is that Brad Holmes did not hire Dan Campbell. Holmes came into the fold as general manager after the Lions had already made Dan Campbell their head coach.
That makes it easy for Holmes to go to ownership and say “Campbell isn’t our guy, we have picks, we have cap space, we have young talent, give me a shot to bring the right guy in”. Whether you think that is fair or not is irrelevant, because it’s true.
The Lions have young talent all over the field – Amon-Ra St. Brown, D’Andre Swift, Jameson Williams, Penei Sewell, Jonah Jackson, Jeff Okudah, Aidan Hutchinson, Malcolm Rodriguez, and Josh Paschal are all 25 years old or younger. The Lions freed up 9.4 million dollars in cap space this offseason by trading away Hockenson and could have north of 65 million in cap space if they so desired (this would require letting go of Jared Goff this offseason, so don’t get your hopes up). The Lions currently have two first-round picks and two second-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft (the Lions currently hold the #1 overall pick).
Holmes operating independently of Campbell will reach a fever pitch during the 2024 NFL Draft hosted in Detroit. Excitement will be at an all-time high as the hosting Lions once again sell hope. This time with a new head coach, a plethora of young talent, and possibly a few big-name signings.
The path is there for Brad Holmes to distance himself from Dan Campbell; I believe it’s the one he’s begun to travel.