Where do Lions go without Hill?

March, 26, 2014
Mar 26
4:10
PM ET
This is perhaps the biggest loss for the Detroit Lions this free agency period and it has nothing to do with a starter.

Hill
Shaun Hill has decided to sign a one-year deal with St. Louis, meaning after four years with Detroit the team will have a new backup quarterback this year. If it wants a veteran, though, the team might have waited too long to get a viable one.

Luke McCown, the player who would have been the best fit had Hill gone elsewhere, re-signed Wednesday with New Orleans. Ryan Fitzpatrick is signed up in Houston. Jason Campbell went to Cincinnati. Kellen Clemens is unavailable, now in San Diego.

And while Detroit appears fine with drafting a quarterback as a backup and the team still has Kellen Moore on the roster, it would be somewhat surprising to see Jim Caldwell enter his first season as the Lions' coach without an experienced backup.

Especially since the lack of a competent backup quarterback helped get him fired in Indianapolis after the 2011 season.

So where could Detroit go from here? Let's look at some options.

Kellen Moore: He has yet to take an NFL snap but is already in the locker room and under contract. This could be the opportunity he needs to prove he is a capable NFL player, but so far there is little evidence to support that. If the team doesn't feel like he can be the No. 2 quarterback, it might be time to see him leave the roster altogether. This is their big question with him.

Matt Flynn: Of the quarterbacks left, he might be the most cost-efficient considering the experience. Flynn is a former starter and the Lions know him well from his time in Green Bay. He isn't as strong of an option as Hill or, say, a Brandon Weeden, but he has proven he can win games for teams if necessary and that's what Detroit is seeking.

Mark Sanchez: Likely too expensive and still in the hunt to be a starting quarterback somewhere, he would seem unlikely because he'll have less than zero chance to replace Matthew Stafford. It would appear Sanchez would want to be somewhere he could at least compete to be a starter.

Josh Freeman: He would be an intriguing option for Detroit because he has the talent to be a starter but needs a place to resurrect his career after fiascos in Tampa Bay and Minnesota in 2013. He could be a one-year stopgap option, especially if the Lions drafted a rookie to be a third quarterback and eventual developmental replacement.

Brady Quinn: He is a step below Flynn and Sanchez, but Quinn has a strong arm and has started 12 games in his career. His 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in his career are not good numbers, but considering the Lions are hoping to never have to use this player, he could be a good short-term option.

Kevin Kolb: He has started at least one game in four of the past five seasons between Philadelphia and Arizona. He has thrown 28 touchdowns and 25 interceptions in his career, which isn't bad for a backup. If he is willing to take a completely backup role, he could be a strong option.

A rookie: The Lions have draft picks and could use a mid-round selection on a quarterback now if they are committed to developing one. Considering Moore is under contract for one more year, they could use him as the immediate backup for a season while they bring along a rookie. Among the potential candidates there could be Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech); Zach Mettenberger (LSU) and Aaron Murray (Georgia). Tom Savage (Pittsburgh); Stephen Morris (Miami, Fla.) and Connor Shaw (South Carolina) would also be intriguing developmental options.

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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