The Lions will become well positioned for the 2022 and 2023 drafts once their blockbuster trade with the Rams becomes official at the start of the new league year in March.
But that doesn’t mean the team isn’t going to be competitive until two or three years down the line.
“Of course I want to win now,” head coach Dan Campbell said in an interview with Chris Burke of TheAthletic.com. “Who doesn’t want to win now? And we’ll do whatever we can to win now, but not to sacrifice what we can become long term. I look at things two years out — I don’t look at them right now. I want to know where we can be two years from now, even possibly three years from now. I know that’s crazy in this business, but if you want to have long-term success, something you can sustain, something where we can create a winner here in the [NFC] North for a long period of time, you have to build it properly. You have to have building blocks. You have to have a core.”
And Campbell feels that group of players should come from the draft, which is why the Lions don’t plan to go on a spending spree in free agency for the 2021 season.
“I think we do ourselves a disservice and we do the fan base a disservice if we say we’re going all in, right now,” Campbell said. “Because you know what happens? You’re going to stink in Year 2, Year 3. You’re not going to sustain.”
Most teams operate that way. But this likely isn’t the offseason for many teams to make splashy moves in free agency, as the salary cap is expected to be reduced to $175 to $180 million.
Regardless, the Lions have given themselves a good opportunity to build a solid foundation with extra first-round selections in the coming years.