When teams talk about “glue guys”, they’re talking about a specific type of player. It could be an offensive lineman or a receiver that specifically plays special teams but that player is a leader on and off-the-field.
One of those guys for the Detroit Lions and their defense is lineman John Cominksy. Much of that is for how he became a leader during a short period of time with the team, but he also helped coach the younger defensive lineman on the roster.
Originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons, he was used sparingly and not overly productive. That forced the Falcons to waive Cominsky but he ended up being claimed by the Lions.
He ended up playing in 14 games for Detroit and started 8 of those games last season. Through most of the season, he battled through a right thumb injury and missed some time due to having surgery on the thumb. Despite not playing at 100% health, Cominsky still played in the last 10 games of the season and posted a total of four sacks. Let’s look at some pros and cons of keeping John Cominsky.
Pros of Keeping Cominsky:
Veteran presence for a young defensive line (Hutchinson, Paschal, Houston, McNeil and a potential first round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft).
He’s a versatile player that can play anywhere along the defensive line. Looks best suited to play as a 4i-technique for Detroit but could bump to the inside shoulder of a guard, when needed.
Per PFF, Cominsky had 44 total pressures in 2022. Would have had more but missed time due to the injury.
Played over 550 snaps last season. Would look for him to contribute at a similar capacity for the future.
Talented player that came out of University of Charleston but never found his “groove” in Atlanta — he found it in Detroit.
Wants to be in Detroit. He made that clear after the season by posting about it on social media but he also spoke with Zac Jackson of The Athletic. He said, “I think they want me there. I want to be there. We’ll see how it all works out.” It’s different but also great when a player wants to stay in Detroit and be part of what they’re building.
4th. Down. Sack.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) September 18, 2022
Cons of Keeping Cominsky:
Lost snaps for the younger players such as Paschal, Houston or a potential first-round edge rusher from the 2023 NFL Draft.
Cominsky was dirt cheap during the 2022 season, with a cap hit under $1 million dollars. The Lions will have to pay him much more than that to stay; I’ve seen some estimations of around $4 or $5 million dollars per season. That’s a significant increase for a team that has some key contract extensions (St. Brown, Sewell, Swift, McNeil) waiting in the shadows.
Health was a concern for 2022. Would be a shame to give him a contract and injuries start to pile up. We know that’s part of the process, though.
Does he end up staying in Detroit?
Obviously, this is the million dollar question and if you had to ask a Lions fans about who they’d rather keep between Cominsky or Jamaal Williams, they’d pick Williams. It makes sense to why anyone would say that but don’t discredit the success that Cominsky had during his time in Detroit.
It’ll be interesting to see what teams he potentially talks to and if the Lions would really bring him back or not. If the price is right, you can make the case for Detroit to bring him back. After all, he feels like one of the “glue guys” for the Lions defense. Not with just how he performed during key points of the season but with also how he coached up the young defensive lineman the Lions have selected over the last two years.
If I had to guess, John Cominsky will be retained by the Detroit Lions on a reasonable two or three-year deal that pays him around $3.5 or $4 million dollars per season. Don’t be surprised if there’s some incentives in there as well that can get him close to the $5 million dollar range.