Dan Campbell crushes some Detroit Lions fans’ free agency dreams

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes have made it clear that their primary focus in free agency is retaining their own players and being selective in bringing new players to the team. Holmes emphasized that the team's goal is finding the right guys, not how much money they have to spend. Despite having some solid salary cap space, coach Dan Campbell has thrown some water on the hopes of the team pursuing highly-ranked players via trade or free agency. The Lions' priority remains on finding players who fit their culture and fill specific roles.

“We’ve got a little more to play with,” Campbell said on Wednesday. “We have a little more wiggle room. But it’s like man, let’s not lose sight of… let’s just get better. Forget, ‘Well, man, can we acquire this blue-chip player?’ Let’s just find a guy that can serve a certain type of role for us. He’s somebody who has maybe played some ball, he can start at a certain position for us. But we don’t need to acquire these high-level… you’re paying the most for these guys because they’re rated the No. 1 guy in free agency at that position. We just need to get better. Let’s just get better at areas we need to get better at, and focus on that. I think that’s always been the focus.”

Key points

  • Lions focus on retaining their own players and being selective in free agency
  • Culture fit and specific role-filling are key priorities in free agency
  • Despite having more cap space, the Lions don't plan to pursue highly-ranked players via trade or free agency
  • The priority remains on finding the right players who fit their culture and specific needs  
Dan Campbell Detroit Lions

The Big Picture: Detroit Lions Philosophy Remains the Same  

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The Lions have made it clear that their philosophy of free agency remains unchanged. While they may have more salary cap space and fewer team needs than last year, their priority is still finding players who fit their culture and fill specific roles. The team's focus on culture fit and specific role-filling has been a primary strategy in free agency for the past two years, and it doesn't seem to be changing any time soon. While some fans may be disappointed that the team isn't pursuing highly-ranked players, the Lions are focused on building a team that works well together and can compete in the long run.   

Bottom Line: Do not expect Lions to make big splash

After listening closely to both Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell speak on Wednesday at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, it seems like they are focused on building through the NFL Draft, rather than making a big splash in free agency. Some fans (and local writers) have been begging the Lions to trade for Jalen Ramsey or sign Bobby Wagner, but, thankfully, it sounds like both Campbell and Holmes are in lock-step when it comes to avoiding the shiny objects that won't help the team long-term.

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