Detroit Lions' Bob Quinn seeks playmakers on both sides of ball

The Sports Xchange
Detroit Lions Matt Stafford scrambles against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on December 26, 2016. Ian Halperin/UPI
Detroit Lions Matt Stafford scrambles against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on December 26, 2016. Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

Bob Quinn took a restrained approach to his first free agency as Detroit Lions general manager last year, and he said at the NFL Combine to expect more of the same this year.

"I probably see it in a similar vein," Quinn said. "I think there's some (of) those top-end guys that we would like to take a shot at, but I think I said this last year. You look at the list (of available free agents) today and it could be vastly different a week from now because all these franchise guys are getting signed to their tenders and guys are getting re-signed to their own teams."


The Lions have more than $31 million in available cap space this offseason and pressing needs at nearly every position.

Five starters are scheduled to hit free agency -- right tackle Riley Reiff, right guard Larry Warford, receiver Anquan Boldin, linebacker Josh Bynes and defensive end Devin Taylor.

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Quinn said the team needs more playmakers on both sides of the ball.

Offensively, the Lions have made no secret about their desire to upgrade a running game that ranked 30th in the NFL last year.


Both Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick are coming off season-ending injuries, and Quinn said the normally cautious Lions are still keeping the door open on drafting embattled Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon.

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On defense, the Lions allowed an NFL-record 72.7 percent completion percentage. Quinn said addressing a unit that had just 14 takeaways last season is a priority.

"I think we were in the bottom five in the league in interceptions, so I think that's an area that we need to improve," Quinn said. "That's just not the corners. That's the linebackers, that's the safeties, that's the defensive line putting pressure on the quarterback, so I think it's the whole team defense thing that kind of helps your guys that are in the secondary in the second level of the defense be able to make plays that can change games."

--While the Lions have not yet opened talks on a new contract with Matthew Stafford, Quinn said "it's a priority" that he plans to get to later this offseason.

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Stafford, who turned 29 last month, is entering the final season of his contract and expected to command a deal that will make him one of the highest paid players in the NFL. He had one of the best seasons of his career last year before injuring the middle finger on his throwing hand, and led the Lions to the playoffs for the third time in his eight seasons.


"It takes two sides to do a deal," Quinn said. "So I think that's something we'll definitely talk about. I'm not making any promises one way or another, but I've always said since I've gotten here that I think Matthew's a good quarterback and I'd like to have him here long term."

--Despite plenty of speculation about DeAndre Levy's contract, Quinn said that's not something that currently needs to be addressed.

Levy has played in just five games the last two seasons because of knee and hip injuries. He's scheduled to make $5.75 million this fall, with $1.75 million fully guaranteed on the third day of the league year.

The Lions will be in the market for upgrades at linebacker in free agency.

--The Lions kept nearly their entire coaching staff intact from 2017, the only addition being former Houston Texans offensive coordinator George Godsey as a defensive assistant. Godsey was an assistant with the New England Patriots when Quinn was in the front office there, and Quinn said he was brought in to help give an offensive view to the defensive staff.


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