Sunday, March 2, 2008

Lions Free Agency Thoughts

As we get into the real meat of free agency, there is a lot going on with the Lions that bears looking at. To me, the first few days of free agency are the "big money" days -- those are the days where teams like the Redskins, and formerly the Lions, would spend huge money on average players, or overspend for one great guy -- to try to make up for a lack of drafting. The 49ers are, as Don Banks put it, the new Redskins -- spending big money to little effect because while Free Agents can help fill holes, you can't make a whole team of free agents and expect to succeed.

On a quick side note, speaking of the 49ers -- and even Miami -- notice that the 49ers have signed both Issac Bruce (who is way past his prime people) and JT O'sullivan to make Martz happy...makes you wonder what their draft will look like. They also signed Deshaun Foster because he is a "Martz type back" out of the backfield. If you own Frank Gore in your fantasy league, and haven't already done so, dump him now for whatever you can get. Just my two cents worth.

As I mentioned Miami, Parcells is bringing in his guys in FA and trade that he drafted or had under him on the Jets and in Dallas -- in some cases, like with NT Ferguson, both spots. So when we refer to Tampa North, keep in mind that the Lions are by far not the only team to do this when the coaches are in their first few years and guys are available. After all, they had those players for a reason -- not only do they know them, but usually they were under that coach because they fit their philosophy and had the right skill set for their system in the first place.

Anybody see that contract Justin Smith got? Yikes! Dwayne White may not be elite, but he is a solid DE and his contract is nothing comparatively. It would have been hard for the Lions to justify paying Smith that much money, since he is essentially at a slightly lower skill level than White. The more I look at what they gave him, the more I see that White was a very solid, smart signing last off season. Kudos to Marinelli for getting that done.

My Lance Briggs dreams were dashed when he decided to stay with the Bears -- and at about a million a year less than Washington was going to offer him. Apparently, he decided it was better to stay where he knew he could play great, and still have a shot at the playoffs (assuming they get a QB other than Rex or Kyle -- which considering they resigned them both, we don't have to worry about this year)

The Sean Rogers trade: Lets not lambaste the guy too bad, as you can read in Killer Kowalski's story here:

he actually helped the Lions buy time, and then do what was needed, to get the Browns to give up Bodden and a 3rd -- which they would not do before, and is the reason the Lions were trading with the Bengals instead.

I really like this trade for a host of reasons.

1. Detroit gets a starting CB who is young and the type of physical CB needed to play in the T2
2. Cleveland didn't want to give him and a high draft pick up, which tells you something
3. Since the Jets landed their new Nose Tackle for their 3-4 Mangini likes (Kris Jenkins), they need to off-load Dwayne Robertson -- who is best suited as a 4-3 two technique tackle -- which is what Detroit is currently in need of to go with Cory Redding.
4. The market for DT's, in part set by Detroit, GB, and the Jags - puts his value at about a 3rd and a 5th.

See where this is going? I would love to see the Lions trade one of their 3rd and either a 4th or 5th round pick for Robertson. We all know Millen's 4th - 7th round picks are all out of football before their first season, so this trade makes sense. Plus, the Lions would essentially be giving up a 4th or a 5th round pick, and ending up with a new DT who will play every down AND a starting CB. Not a bad end result in anyone's book.

I also see the Lions signing Brian Kelly to polish off the CB position. If they make those two moves, that leaves a great situation.

1. With Bodden and Kelly, along with Smith and Wilson (both respectable nickel/dime backs), the Lions will be able to draft a T2 style corner in the 2nd or 3rd round as this is a deep CB year, and not need that player to immediately start. This will ultimately be better for the Lions, as their CB choice will be able to learn the D and play on nickle/dime and rotate in to get game experience while learning the system. the RIGHT way to build a team.
2. Assuming they pick up Robertson the most glaring needs will be: MLB, RT and DE. I am sure there will be plenty of options available when the Lions choose in the first.
3. Assuming they trade their extra 3rd and a 5th for Robertson, I'd like to see them use their 3rd and 4th to trade back into the second round -- and choose MLB-RT-CB in any given order with their first three picks. If they get one of the top tackles in Round 1, there should be Lofton available in the second (trade up if necessary) and a corner that in a year that isn't as loaded at the position would go in the first round.

If they make all of those moves, the Lions D will be significantly different from last season, and while it may take some time to gel together with all the young players, I can see it making solid progress as the season goes on. After the draft and FA, can you imagine how solid this D would be:

DE: White, IAF, 5th rnd pick, Smith
DT: Redding, Robertson, Langston Moore, S. Cody
CB: Bodden, Kelly, Smith, Wilson, 2nd Rnd CB Pick
LB: Simms, 2nd Rnd MLB, Lenon, Lewis
S: Alexander, Bullocks, Smith, Blue, Kennedy

the great part about the above scenario is that if they don't get Kelly, CB would still be fine without him -- that 2nd Rnd CB pick would just get more playing time.

I will admit, I think that IAF is going to have a huge year this year, and I think that Redding was not as bad as he seemed to be last year -- the DE are supposed to be the sack generators in the T2, while the DT's eat up the middle and stop the run. Put someone good (Robertson) next to him that actually plays every down, and I think the Dline will be much improved.

I'll go more into the Offense and more FA thoughts, draft thoughts, etc. this week. BTW -
I tested the comments and they should be fixed now. You don't have to sign in to comment, and you'll just have to type the little letters in the picture box to post. I really would love to see your comments -- for or against my opinions. I am open to change my mind! After all, I like intelligent discourse!


Anonymous said...

I can't see a team being willing to trade their 2nd rounder for a 3rd and a 4th. Maybe in Madden or if your name is Matt Millen, but not in real life.

DetFan1979 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DetFan1979 said...

Last year, when Millen traded up for Gerald Alexander, he got back into the 2nd round with a 3rd and a 5th - so yes, I think it is possible. He parlayed a couple of 5th round picks, our extra 4th and a third into 3 second round selections. As bad as his choices for players have been, he has shown a knack for adventageously trading up when he wants to.

CHIEFGER139 said...

dont lambash the guy too bad?? we just gave up our best player on the entire team. that being said, i think the trade was a great one. we would of got a cb in the 1st round anyhow so it was like getting a 1st and a 3rd pick for him. bodden is still young too so it was a win for both teams here. knock rogers all you want but at least he was good enough to get something good in return. now we need to sign that darby guy and a strong mlb in the draft to back them up.
lions great in 2008-playoffs and beyond!!