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Pros and Cons of Lions Signing OT Riley Reiff

Read more on the pros and cons of the Detroit Lions signing offensive tackle Riley Reiff.

Could a reunion be in store for Riley Reiff and the Detroit Lions?

The 33-year-old played his first five NFL seasons in the Motor City, after being drafted by the Lions with the No. 23 overall selection in the 2012 draft.

He had a solid tenure in Detroit, suiting up primarily at left tackle. He was the Lions' full-time starter at the position from 2013-15, and then slid over to right tackle for the 2016 campaign.

At the conclusion of the '16 season, he left Motown, and inked a five-year, $58.75 million contract with Detroit's NFC North rivals, the Minnesota Vikings.

He spent four years in Minnesota, before being released by the organization at the end of the 2020 season. 

The Iowa product spent this past season with the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals, logging 12 starts at right tackle. He was unable to be a part of the Bengals' run to the Super Bowl, though, as he suffered a season-ending ankle injury during Cincinnati's Week 14 overtime loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Fast-forward to now, and he's one of the best remaining free agents this offseason.

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In fact, CBS Sports ranked the veteran offensive lineman as the 10th-best free agent still available. 

As the site writes, 

"After spending four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Reiff inked a one-year deal to join the Bengals last offseason. He started all 12 games for Cincinnati at right tackle last season before being placed on injured reserve in mid-December and missed the club's run to Super Bowl LVI. According to Pro Football Focus, Reiff had a 96.8 pass-blocking efficiency rating, allowing 21 total pressures and four sacks." 

Specifically, he allowed four sacks and got called for a lone penalty in 711 total snaps last season. Not too shabby for an individual who will be entering his 11th season in the league in 2022.

Now, maybe he's not a high-end, starting-caliber lineman anymore. However, I'm of the mindset that you can never have too many linemen, especially considering all the time that Frank Ragnow and Taylor Decker missed for the Lions a season ago. Ragnow and Decker each started in less than 10 games in 2021.

Reiff would be a terrific safety valve for Decker at left tackle and for second-year pro Penei Sewell at right tackle.

Before the Lions heavily pursue Reiff, though, they'd have to consider how much money he's seeking. He inked a one-year, $7.5 million deal last offseason with the Bengals.

Knowing that he'd be serving in the role of a reserve with Detroit, you'd have to believe that Lions general manager Brad Holmes would want to get that price tag closer to $5M. If Holmes were to be able to pull it off, I feasibly could see the franchise making a run at the experienced offensive tackle.