The Detroit Lions are approaching the 2023 NFL season with plenty of steam from their 2022 campaign. They surprised a lot of people with their second-place finish in the NFC North, going 9-8 last season. With their gritty, old-school style of attack under third-year head coach Dan Campbell, and a division now void of Aaron Rodgers, opportunities await the Lions this upcoming season.
Campbell and staff have, although through unique tactics in some regards, gone about building this current Lions’ roster much better than previous staffs. This Lions team certainly has more of an identity in how they want to build a roster, no matter which side of the ball that it involves. Take for instance this offseason in free agency, where the Lions made significant efforts to bolster their secondary with one of their key signings in cornerback Emmanuel Moseley.
Moseley could be the best pick-up for the Lions in 2023, but he could also be the riskiest free-agency move of the offseason.
While Emmanuel Moseley's signing may seem promising on the surface, it carries a considerable amount of risk for the Lions entering the 2023 season. Moseley's injury history, specifically his recent season-ending ACL tear, could raise concerns about his ability to stay healthy in the long term.
Throughout his five-year career, Moseley has only played in more than 12 games once. His injury-prone nature raises doubts about his durability and whether he can maintain a healthy form for an entire season. While he should be ready for the season opener, there is no guarantee that he will be fully recovered or able to withstand the physical demands of a grueling 17-game NFL schedule. This garnered the Lions into only giving Moseley a one-year, $6 million deal. This sort of short-term investment in Moseley seems as if it is a prove-it type of deal, where it allows the Lions to take a chance on his productivity when he is fit.
The San Francisco 49ers' decision not to match the Lions' offer for Moseley further suggests concerns about Moseley's long-term health and value. Despite Moseley's impressive performance before his injury, the 49ers were unwilling to invest heavily in a player recovering from a torn ACL. Of course, some of this is because a talented team like the 49ers can afford to let someone like Moseley go, given they have someone like Deommodore Lenoir.
The 49ers believe in Lenoir's growth and his ability to become a reliable cornerback. If Lenoir had not shown promise, the 49ers might have been more inclined to retain Moseley. With that being said, the Lions are a team looking to build upon what is becoming a talented roster — they need to take risks because they have to. For now, they have to scrap through the free agency market season to season, looking to make deals with the likes of someone like Moseley, who, although very talented, has past health issues.
For a team that just barely missed the playoffs last season, the Lions need all hands-on deck heading into the 2023 season. But they also, more importantly, need them late in the season, which is what could be so problematic with Moseley. The Lions have taken a calculated gamble by signing Moseley to a one-year contract, providing him an opportunity to prove his worth. However, the Lions must be prepared for the possibility of Moseley missing games or not reaching his full potential due to ongoing health issues. Time will tell if this risky signing pays off for the Lions or becomes another cautionary tale of investing in an injury-prone player.