Detroit Lions’ best and worst free-agent signings in last 5 years

The NFL free agency period is fast approaching, with negotiations set to begin on Monday before the official signing period opens on Wednesday, March 15. During this time, multiyear contracts worth millions of dollars will be offered, accompanied by news conferences and excitement from both Detroit Lions fans and team executives. While the Lions have enjoyed successful free-agency acquisitions in the past, they have also experienced disappointments.

Jamaal Williams Detroit Lions

ESPN Names Detroit Lions ‘best' and ‘worst' free-agent signing since 2018

Eric Woodyard has revealed what he believes are the best and worst free-agent signings by the Lions since 2018, and I think he pretty much nailed it.

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From ESPN:

Best signing: Jamaal Williams, RB, 2021

Williams enjoyed the best seasons of his career in 2021 and 2022 after signing with the Lions as an unrestricted free agent on a two-year, $6 million deal. After thriving in a complementary role for the Packers for his first four NFL seasons, Williams led the league in rushing touchdowns (17) this past year while rushing for 1,066 yards, the first 1,000-yard season in Detroit since Reggie Bush in 2013.

Worst signing: Jesse James, TE, 2019

James signed a four-year, $22.6 million deal and was released after two seasons after failing to live up to that deal. He recorded just 30 receptions for 271 yards in those two seasons. In his first year, he went without a touchdown in a season for the first time in his career, which started in 2015.

Bottom Line: Free agency has winners and losers

Then a team signs a free agent, the hope is that the player will come in and make an immediate impact on the team. Sometimes, those free agents pay off, and other times, they don't. Jamaal Williams has certainly paid off for the Lions, while Jesse James was complete trash. Let's hope Brad Holmes nails this year's free-agency signings!

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