I'd say Rod grew a set, but I think it's more like he remembered he had them around the Green Bay Game to end the season...and he's been whippin his machete around ever since.
Seriously -- what part of this off season doesn't say Straight Talk Football Guy Marinelli. No pansy excuses. No softening the news to spin it. No "we're moving in another direction, lets just be friends, okay?"
So we say goodbye to KJ and Kalimba. And the world has ended? What? I can't go near a Lions site without people making like it's black Friday in 1929. Seriously. I read about three posts on a forum today and called it quits. So I know they are gone, and not much else. Fill me in if I make incorrect inferences. To the doomsayers:
Step 1: Get back on your meds. Now.
Step 2: Throw cold water on your face.
Step 3: Relax. If you have $4500, you can go out on the town with Elliot Spitzer.
They obviously didn't like the medical prognosis on KJ and said straight up: You make too much money for what you bring to table. Kalimba was told by Rod LAST season that if he didn't figure it out, he was gone.
I wasn't surprised they cut KJ outright, as better/less injured backs have not been getting any play this off season. Combine that with the fact it is a strong RB draft, and that more quality backs are rumored to be looking for work soon (Alexander, Pittman, et al.) -- there was just no trade market there.
I am guessing that the Lions felt out other teams, and found that there really wasn't a market for Kalimba either. Any trade would likely involve him reworking his deal to get significantly LESS money, as would staying with the Lions; I'm guessing he decided to take his chances on the open market and accepting being released.
If Millen thought having either Jones or Kalimba on the roster would have helped him move around the board on Draft Day -- mark my words, he'd have kept them. Even if all he thought he could get was a 5th (ala James Hall) -- he uses those mainly to package with other picks to move around the board.
As for the Lions' draft plans, this really doesn't change too much. If anything, I see it as a sign they are thinking that there will be plenty of suitors looking to trade up to get "their guy" at the 15th slot. Looking at the Mocks, there are about 20 players going in the top 15...which means someone that another team wants is going to slide...and the Lions are in the prefect position to use that to their advantage. Add in the fact that no one is sure what the Lions will do: MLB, DE, OT or RB (poss CB if they are as gullible as Oakland) -- and there will be the opportunity to trade back into the 20's and pick up an extra 2nd or 3rd. I'm guessing Millen will package in the extra low-round pick it takes to garner the second.
And Millen could still, at that point, trade one of the extra 3rds and a 4th to get back into the 2nd round.
It is realistic to think the Lions could end up picking in the 20's in round 1, and once again get three 2nd round picks, and still have a 3rd. (no 4th or 5th rounder, and possibly no 6th).
Look back over what I just wrote. Now look at the teams picking in the 20's, and their needs. Factor in Millen's ability to get people to panic on draft day (the Cleveland one-spot trade anyone?) and it is a real possibility.
Which means there would be 5 picks in the first three rounds (4 in the first 2) to get:
MLB, OT, DT, RB, DE
Players the Lions can use at those positions, with the ability and talent to step right into either the rotation (DT, DE) or start (RB, OT, MLB) will be there where the Lions can get them.
I also think that while Millen will once again be dealing to move around the board, it will be to get the players Rod wants. He has gone all Rod's way this off season, even to the extent of letting go enough players that Millen is now confirmed as not being able to draft on his own -- I don't see it changing for the draft.
For better or worse (I think better) -- Rod has manned up now and it will be his players and his team from this off season forward. They didn't strip Millen of his personnel powers -- not officially -- but Millen is letting Rod run the show there for now. As he should -- Millen is a good Team President, but horrible evaluator of talent. What has he got to lose by letting Rod do it? After all, its pretty near impossible he could draft any WORSE, right??
Letting go of KJ and Kalimba also provides some cap relief as well, since the Lions were really pushing their limits about as far as they could go.
Specualtion: There must be at least some intrest in Kennedy out there, as they did not release him with Kalimba and KJ. So either they are looking at dealing him on draft day, or want to see what he adds to the competition at camp. I'm leaning towards option one and if there are no takers, that he becomes a June 1st designated cut.