Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes: 7 highlights from end-of-season news conference (2024)

Brad Holmes held his end-of-season news conference Monday and it was a passionate one.

Holmes spoke powerfully about the Detroit Lions' season, saying he expects that competing for Super Bowls will be the norm going forward and bringing receipts (some blurry) to the table for those who criticized his very first draft from 2021 — the one that served as a building block in some ways for this year's success.

Highlights from Holmes' news conference

∎ Holmes spoke directly to fans during his 11-minute opening statement, saying the Lions have "the best fan base in the world, hands down. I don’t care what anybody says. Any sport."

He thanked fans for the road-field advantage they gave the Lions, traveling in hordes to road games, and he said what they saw this year was not a flash in the pan.

"This is what I want to tell really our fans is, look, it’s only going to get better," Holmes said. "We’re only going to get better. I don’t want anybody to think that this was a one shot, Cinderella, magical journey that just happened. No, it’s real. This was — this is exactly what was supposed to happen. And I understand that based on history, from what’s happened in the past, like I understand you have a season like this, it’s easy to feel like this was kind of a one shot, magical, lucky, cute story, which I’m tired of hearing. It was none of that."

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Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes: 7 highlights from end-of-season news conference (1)

∎ The Lions have 18 of the 22 players that started in the NFC championship game under contract for 2024, but have some work to do this offseason on the defensive backfield and both lines.

Holmes was not explicit about the Lions' plans in free agency, but he hinted that the Lions might not be big spenders looking for the one or two players that could put them over the top.

"Talking to the fans, I just want them to know that over the next few months, don’t get spooked this spring by speculation or negative talk or the entertainment news feed, don’t get spooked by that to not think that we can’t build and sustain what we’ve been building," he said. "Don’t get spooked by that. And I totally get it, the next few months, it’s a lot of speculation and it’s a lot of opinions and people don’t know what’s going to happen, but I just hope that they know that every year we have not led them astray, Dan (Campbell) and myself. We’ve been very upfront and straight with everybody and said, look, again, every move is intentional. Every move that we make — again, every move we do not make — is intentional."

Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes: 7 highlights from end-of-season news conference (2)

The Lions should enter 2024 with plenty of cap room, but they have long-term extensions to do with Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown and perhaps others. Goff and St. Brown are entering the final year of their contracts, and right tackle Penei Sewell has a fifth-year team option that will no doubt be exercised later this spring.

All three of those players will get new contracts that should put them among the highest-paid players at their position in the NFL, and as Holmes said, all the money for free agency, the draft and re-signing your own players comes out of one bucket.

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∎ Since Holmes talked about accountability — and specifically mentioned my desire for the Lions to draft a quarterback — I figured I should share what I wrote about the Lions' 2021 draft immediately after it happened.

I was a little light on my overall grade (B-plus), but I called Sewell the Lions' best pick of the draft and St. Brown the biggest steal.

Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes: 7 highlights from end-of-season news conference (3)

Holmes said I wanted the Lions to take a quarterback at No. 7, which is only partially true. I liked Trevor Lawrence and Trey Lance in that year's draft class. Both were gone by the time the Lions picked, and I was never for the Lions taking a quarterback just to take one. In my last mock draft of that spring, I had the Lions passing on Justin Fields to take Ja'Marr Chase (with Sewell going to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 5).

As I've said and written before, I've been wrong about Goff and what he's become for the Lions. I thought he was a bridge quarterback at the time of the Matthew Stafford trade, and I thought the Lions needed to explore their quarterback options in Holmes' first two drafts as Lions GM (and going back further, to the 2020 draft as well).


Goff has proven to be much more than that. He played at a Pro Bowl-level this year, is a huge reason the team was a whisker from winning the Super Bowl and deserves the contract coming his way.

∎ The Lions will give Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow the time and space he needs to figure out his future after Ragnow made some cryptic comments at the end of the season that indicated retirement was a possibility.

"I'm just going to take some time and really figure everything out to make sure that I’m feeling good, not only for me the football player but for me to be the best husband and best father and everything with that as well," Ragnow said the day after the Lions' season ended.

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"I have so much respect for him and for everything that he goes through and fights through that I’m just respectful of his time and his thoughts," Holmes said. "We’re not going to pressure him to do anything or make any moves, but the communication will be diligent. It’ll be thorough, it’ll be respectful."

∎ Whatever happens to Ragnow, who has three years left on the contract he signed in 2021, Holmes said it is "extremely" important the Lions fortify their offensive line this spring.

Starting guards Jonah Jackson and Graham Glasgow are both headed for unrestricted free agency, and left tackle Taylor Decker is entering the final year of his contract.

The Lions have had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL the past few years, and Holmes will do his part to keep it that way.

∎ Holmes said the Lions were "fortunate" to keep coordinators Ben Johnson and Aaron Glenn after they interviewed with a combined nine teams for head coaching jobs this offseason.

Glenn, who finished his third year as Lions defensive coordinator, was a finalist for the Washington Commanders job that went to the Dan Quinn. Johnson, who wrapped up his second season as Lions' offensive coordinator, pulled out of the running for the Commanders job before his second interview with the team.

The continuity the Lions will have on both sides of the ball in 2024 should be beneficial, and Holmes said the return of Johnson and Glenn "says a lot about our organization."

"I think that’s a part that wasn’t really talked about as much," Holmes said. "You’ve got two talented coordinators, jobs open up, they have to take those jobs. Well, they have damn good jobs here. They do."

∎ Holmes said he's excited to have the draft in Detroit this spring, though the Lions don't pick until 29th in the first round.

"If we trade out of the first round I’ll just send a memo," Holmes joked.

Even though the Lions won't have a featured pick in the draft, Holmes said it's special because of what it represents.

“Hopefully us hosting the draft means something because that’s what our team has been built upon really is the draft, and through the draft," he said. "So I think it’s going to mean a lot on a lot of different levels."

Contact Dave Birkett Follow him on Twitter@davebirkett.

Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes: 7 highlights from end-of-season news conference (2024)
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