The Detroit Lions seemed to have a lingering hole at quarterback as the offseason has taken shape, but they have taken an early step toward addressing that need.
On Friday, March 24, the team revealed that they would be bringing back veteran quarterback Nate Sudfeld to the roster on a new contract. Sudfeld came into the mix just ahead of the 2022 season, and did a decent job to solidify the role behind Jared Goff.
Now, Sudfeld gets to stick around for another season as Goff’s primary backup.
“Welcome back, Nate,” the Lions’ Twitter account posted while announcing the news.
Sudfeld’s return is not surprising. He did a decent job behind Goff last season, and though he was not needed to play in a game, he was able to bring stability to a spot that lacked it most of the offseason all regular season long.
Detroit signed Sudfeld on August 31 before the 2022 season when the team cut David Blough and Tim Boyle, the players who were battling to see if they could be the team’s backup.
When Sudfeld became available, he was quickly added to the mix given his experience. That’s likely a big reason he is sticking around now.
Nate Sudfeld’s Stats & Highlights
The former Indiana University quarterback was the Washington Commanders’ sixth-round pick in 2016, and will be entering into his eighth year in the NFL during the 2023 season with Detroit.
After a year in Washington in which he did not play, Sudfeld went to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he lasted for four seasons, appearing in four games and winning a 2018 Super Bowl ring. After departing Philadelphia after the 2020 season, Sudfeld went to San Francisco, where he lasted until 2022 without playing a down for the 49ers.
In his four appearances, Sudfeld has just 188 yards to his credit on 25-of-37 passing, with one touchdown against one interception. Last season, Sudfeld only played in two games for the Lions, and didn’t register a stat.
Hendon Hooker Could Fit With Nate Sudfeld’s Return
The Lions might still look to draft a quarterback in 2023, even with Sudfeld back in the mix for the team. What player could get that call remains up for debate, but it’s clear that Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker could be a strong fit.
Hooker has shown during his time in college he can be an explosive playmaker. The quarterback put up 3,135 yards and 27 touchdowns to just two interceptions in 2022 as a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, he also was felled by a torn ACL in November of last year.
That injury may have pushed him down the board, but in this instance, it could be to Detroit’s advantage. Behind Goff, Hooker could get the kind of hands-on experience and time to grow in the league that he needs.
In keeping Sudfeld, the Lions could have the ideal buffer for Hooker as he develops and also comes off injury. That kind of situation could be ideal for him as he recovers from ACL surgery and also adjusts to the league.
With Sudfeld back in the mix, it may have cemented the fact that the Lions will be looking to the middle rounds for a quarterback. That player might also be Hooker in the end.