The Detroit Lions have been hard at work making additions to their roster this offseason, but few folks have chosen to focus on some of the notable departures for the team.
While the Lions haven’t lost much off the roster, they have still managed to see their fair share of key players walk out the door, and that could leave their roster in an interesting place for the 2023 season at a few spots.
Some might point to the loss of running back Jamaal Williams or wideout DJ Chark as the most significant departure for the team, but Pro Football Focus writer Brad Spielberger offered a new name, and it was one that could catch some Lions fans off guard.
Quietly, the team lost guard Evan Brown to the Seattle Seahawks last week. Brown was a key player for Detroit’s offensive front, and a reserve that could come in and give the team snaps at guard and center without missing much of a beat.
As Spielbergr pointed out in a piece picking out the biggest departures around the league, while the Lions might still be able to replace Brown, he will be missed given his ability to be very versatile for the team, and effective when being on the field.
“An underrated part of the Lions’ excellent free agency thus far is that they either had an in-house replacement for every player they lost or signed someone to fill that void. This applies to Brown, as well, but he provided solid interior offensive line depth with the flexibility to play at all three spots, though he was best suited at center. Brown earned a 72.4 pass-blocking grade while starting most of the season at center in 2021 and was a shrewd addition among many such signings by the Seattle Seahawks,” Spielberger wrote in the piece.
Detroit’s offensive line has been a team strength the last few seasons, and the reason that is the case is players like Brown who can step in and step up when others are hurt or cannot play at multiple spots. Brown not only did that, but as the metrics show, did so effectively.
As the Lions think about next season, they will have to hope that Brown’s loss isn’t felt too deeply when things get going.
Evan Brown’s Career Stats & Highlights
The last few years, Brown has done a nice job filling in for the Lions along the offensive front. He has been dependable for the team, and stepped up in the face of injury to others as has been pointed out.
After joining the team as an underrated option at center, the Lions watched Brown turn himself into a key reserve. He started this work in the 2021 preseason, where he played a whopping 154 snaps, most of any player as pointed out by Pro Football Focus at the time.
From there, Brown only got better. He had only played in 13 total career games coming to Detroit, but did have experience to rely on. For that reason, he could become popular during free agency. Brown was undrafred out of SMU in 2018, but ended up cracking the New York Giants roster in 2018 before being waived in 2019. He would go on to spend parts of 2020 with the Cleveland Browns before coming to Detroit in 2021.
The last two years, Brown showed himself as stable enough to make the team and play a reserve role for the Lions. He played in 14 games with 12 starts in 2022, and 16 games with 12 starts in 2021. That adds up to 41 games and 24 starts over the last two years.
As he departs, the Lions may end up missing Brown a bit more than folks anticipate right now. The reason being, he wore many hats for the Lions and played a valuable role to their offensive line.
Graham Glasgow Will Replace Evan Brown
How will the Lions go about trying to account for this loss of Brown? The team has already made a move that they consider to be solid at the same position.
The same day the team lost Brown, they managed to sign their former guard and 2016 NFL draft pick Graham Glasgow to a one-year deal. Glasgow played the last three seasons with the Denver Broncos before hitting free agency this offseason.
Glasgow was a tough guard when he last played in Detroit, and has plenty of experience with 99 games played in the NFL and 91 starts. Notably for the Lions, Glasgow played in 62 games for the Lions with 58 starts.
Detroit likely hopes they can get Glasgow in the mix as a reserve guard that can come in and fill time as needed. Glasgow offers the team something similar as Brown, being he can play center as well in an emergency situation.
While Glasgow is a solid fit himself, the Lions might end up missing Brown a bit more than folks might realize right now.