American Football

Free agent profile: Why Detroit must bring back Graham Glasgow

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NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

After a pretty strong 2023 season, offensive lineman Graham Glasgow is a to priority to re-sign.

We continue our Detroit Lions free-agent profiles series for the 2023-2024 season with a fan favorite in offensive lineman Graham Glasgow. Glasgow returned to the Lions in 2023 after getting released by the Denver Broncos after the 2022 season. The offensive line is the most important position group for this front office and coaching staff, and after having a successful year, they might not want to shake things up.

Let’s take a deeper look at the case for re-signing Glasgow.

Here’s a look at our previously-written free agent profiles: WR Josh Reynolds, G Halapoulivaati Vaitai and EDGE Romeo Okwara.

Graham Glasgow

Expectations heading into 2023

Glasgow was brought in to fight for the starting right guard spot on the offensive line. The Lions had veteran guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai returning from a back injury and the coaching staff wanted a backup plan they could trust if Vaitai couldn’t go. Glasgow was also brought back on just a one-year contract, so if things didn’t work out in 2023, the team could move on to someone else.

Glasgow was excited to be back in Detroit and the state of Michigan, where he went to college and played with his friends, left tackle Taylor Decker and center Frank Ragnow. He wanted to do it again and compete for a starting job to help contribute to the team’s success.

Actual role in 2023

Note: PFF grades combine regular season and playoffs and reflect a minimum 20% snaps at that position

Regular season — 17 games (15 starts): 39 pressures allowed, 30 hurries allowed, seven QB hits allowed, five penalties, and two sacks allowed.

PFF Offensive grade: 75.1 (8th of 62 guards with at least 1187 snaps)
PFF Run Blocking grade: 82.1 (5th of 62)
PFF Pass Blocking grade: 56.2 (55th of 62)

Postseason — 3 games (3 starts): seven pressures allowed, five hurries allowed, one QB hit allowed, and one sack allowed.

PFF Offensive grade: 68.1 (10th of 31 guards with at least 209 snaps)
PFF Run Blocking grade: 71.5 (8th of 31)
PFF Pass Blocking grade: 51.1 (22nd of 31)

During training camp when Ragnow was dealing with his toe injury and getting days off, Glasgow would shift over to center. This didn’t give him as much time at right guard to compete against Vaitai, and the coaching staff started the season with Vaitai as the starter. Glasgow wasn’t happy with how training camp worked out for him, but he accepted the backup job to start the season.

The backup job wasn’t for long, as Vaitai would suffer a knee injury, forcing him to miss back-to-back games early on in the season. While Vaitai did return in Week 5, he would stick to special teams except for Week 7 when he got the start over Glasgow. Vaitai would suffer a back injury in that game, and Glasgow took over the starting job for the rest of the season and thrived.

Outlook for 2024

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent

Why Detroit must re-sign Glasgow

Glasgow had one of the best seasons of his career so far. The Lions need to have a strong offensive line to make their offense as good as it is. They have the center and both tackle positions figured out, but both guard spots are currently filled with players on expiring contract. Compared to left guard Jonah Jackson, Glasgow is an easier decision to make, both financially and just overall fit on the team.

The Lions need to keep Glasgow around to keep the unity of the offensive line. If the Lions aren’t able to keep Glasgow, they would have to look towards the draft or free agency to find a replacement, and while that can work, an offensive line is stronger when there is chemistry and continuity. He was also the fan favorite for the Lions to re-sign in 2024.

Glasgow is getting older. He will be 32 in 2024, but it will be interesting to see what kind of contract he’s seeking. He likes playing with his friends, and if he was willing to take less money in 2023 to play in Detroit, he seems likely to do so again this year. But he also made it clear he thinks his level of play earned a raise, and this may be one of his last chances to earn a nice payday in the NFL.

“I think I had a really good year, probably top one or two of my career. I would like to make more money than I did this year and I would assume the guys upstairs know and understand that,” Glasgow said. “I feel like stuff like this kind of works. Hopefully, we’ll be able to work through it.”

His contract was for $4.5 million last season, and the pay raise may not need to be massive to keep him around. I could see him doing another one-year deal for around $6 million, but I would prefer a two-year deal for $11-13 million to ensure Detroit doesn’t have to deal with this again in 2025.

Is there interest from both sides?

Yes, both sides seem to be on the same page heading into free agency. Glasgow wants to return to Detroit, and the front office wants him back as well.

“They said, ‘We’d like to have you back and we appreciate what you did this year,’” Glasgow said. “That’s cool. I appreciate that. But they even said it, ‘From here on out, it will just be us talking with your agent and seeing what we can do.’”

Seems pretty straightforward that both sides want to complete a deal. It’s nice to see the transparency in this franchise, as not just the coaches but the players are upfront with how they feel about this team.

What do you think the Lions should do with Graham Glasgow?

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