Important offseason coming up for WR Ryan Broyles

Posted Jan 10, 2015

Can wide receiver Ryan Broyles carve out a role in Joe Lombardi’s offense this offseason?

Martin Mayhew drafted Ryan Broyles in the second round of the 2012 season with the expectation he’d be a terrific slot receiver who'd rack up tons of catches in a pass-happy offense.

Broyles was coming off a torn ACL, but the Lions were confident he’d be ready to contribute at some point the following season and into the future.

But one game after recording six catches for 126 yards in a Thanksgiving Day loss to Houston in 2012, Broyles tore the ACL in his other knee.

Ryan BroylesWR Ryan Broyles (Photo: AP Images)

He worked, rehabbed and got back for the 2013 season. Six games into that campaign, he torn his Achilles tendon.

This offseason the Lions went out and signed Golden Tate to a $31 million free-agent contract. Tate ultimately ended up playing the same position as Broyles and Tate caught 99 passes for 1,331 yards and four touchdowns this season. He also stayed healthy all year.

Broyles, who was relegated to backup duty, played in just five games this year when Calvin Johnson was limited or out with an ankle injury and the Lions needed an extra receiver.

“I would have loved to have seen (Broyles) get out on the field and play for us, unfortunately there were guys ahead of him, and they stayed relatively healthy for the most part,” Mayhew said.

“The reason why he didn’t play was because nobody got hurt. The other guys were featured in our offense, we had plans for those guys in the offense, and he was our first reserve off the bench. Like the sixth man in basketball, sometimes you don’t get in, he didn’t get an opportunity to get in.”

This is an important offseason for Broyles, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract that’ll pay him more than $1 million this season.

Can he expand his game and be more versatile so that he’s not stuck behind Tate, who proved he can be a bona fide No. 1 receiver in this league?

“I look forward to see what he does this offseason and seeing his continual development,” Mayhew said of Broyles. “He’ll be a year removed from that Achilles injury, I think he’ll have a little bit more pep in his step this off-season, so I’ll look forward to seeing him work.”   

They say year three is the crucial year for an NFL player to prove he can play in this league or he can't. Broyles’ injury history has pushed back his clock some, which means year four looks to be that year.

Can the former NCAA all-time leader in receptions carve out a role in Joe Lombardi’s offense. This looks to be his final chance to do so.