While the Detroit Lions wait to find out what Calvin Johnson intends to do with his future in the NFL, the team has other pressing needs to discuss heading into free agency and the NFL Draft. One underlying need for the Lions could be a quarterback addition to the roster. Matthew Stafford had a roller coaster year while facing questions about his future with the franchise. While Stafford is a lock to come back in 2016, the Lions are potentially looking down the road and could draft his successor in April.
According to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com, the Lions could take a similar approach to the New England Patriots and draft a quarterback in a mid-round to begin developing behind Stafford. The veteran is currently set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2018, but his high salary cap hit means one more roller coaster season could see him get released. Numerous reports came out during the season that Stafford was at risk of getting cut in the franchise rebuilding. Stafford even recognized that he was not sure what the future held for him, but new general manager Bob Quinn said Stafford is it for 2016.
"He's a good quarterback," Quinn said, via the Detroit Free Press. "I think he's the quarterback that we want here for the future."
However, the long-term is a different story and Roethstein reports that Quinn took interest in quarterbacks at the East-West Shrine Game over the weekend. Carson Wentz was present along with Dak Prescott who could both be intriguing picks for the Lions. Connor Cook and Christian Hackenberg are two other quarterbacks that could develop well behind Stafford.
The Lions are trying to build for the short-term and long-term. If that no longer includes Johnson, the team will likely target a wide receiver in the NFL Draft. Josh Doctson and Laquon Treadwell could become favorites of the team while Golden Tate would likely step up into the No.1 role. There are also question marks in the run game in terms of depth. Ameer Abdullah established himself as the leading running back while Theo Riddick was the versatile passing-down back that Stafford worked with. According to the Free Press, Joique Bell could find himself a salary cap casualty as a result after injuries hurt his season.
Quinn believes the Lions have core players in place to be successful. Without naming names, Quinn told the media that he believes he inherited a good roster to build upon as just a few additions would need to be made.
"I think there's some pieces in place," Quinn said. "I'm not going to get into specific players, but I think there are a few core players here that are top players in the National Football League that we're going to build around."