Phoenix – When the Detroit Lions signed T.J. Lang this offseason, it appeared to be a significant blow to Laken Tomlinson’s future with the club.
Tomlinson, a first-round pick in 2015, lost his starting left guard job to rookie Graham Glasgow last season. The belief was Tomlinson might be a better fit on the right side, where he played in college at Duke, but the addition of Lang eliminated that possibility.
But Lions general manager Bob Quinn isn’t writing off Tomlinson just yet, stating he’ll have the opportunity to recapture the job he lost during this offseason.
“Laken’s still here,” Quinn said. “Laken’s going to compete at the left guard spot and we’ll head into training camp and OTAs with really good depth and really good competition across the board, so we’ll see how it goes with Laken.”
It’s worth noting Quinn also said linebacker DeAndre Levy was still in the team’s plans for 2017 a week before cutting the veteran.
Tomlinson would not only have to overtake Glasgow, but also fend off the challenge of second-year player Joe Dahl, who has impressed the coaching staff with his development on the practice field.
Drafted by the previous front-office regime, Quinn isn’t tied to Tomlinson in any way beyond the player’s contract. It’s a smaller cap hit to carry him on the roster compared to releasing him since his base salary is guaranteed this season.
There is a possibility the Lions could trade Tomlinson. That would essentially be a cost-neutral move, from a cap perspective, but if a team is willing to offer a low-round draft pick, Quinn would likely listen.