Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Peterson: Yea, Curry Pay?, Step-up DL

Here are this week's questions for the Church of Schwartz:

1. Julian Peterson trade: Yay, Nay or Meh?

Right now, Yay. Ask me next January and I'll have a better answer. I looked at this trade pretty hard, and the main point is that the Lions were going to need 1 DT not on the roster in the draft whether they kept Redding or not. The FA pool of LB was pretty thin, and none of the ones worth overpaying at all even wanted to consider Detroit. I give Mayhew props for going out and getting a guy instead of just letting come what may.

I did a very detailed story on my blog last Sunday -- however, in my eyes he took Redding -- From a position where the Lions were say, 6/10 on a scale of no one to starters + Depth. They needed one starter. I don't see where that has really changed at all. However, at LB they went from a 3 up to about an 7. They had one starter -- Sims, and no depth. Getting an all-pro LB like Peterson in there allows for a guy like Dizon to be depth, and the Lions then only have one or two depth guys to get -- but more importantly, only one starter (MLB). It all hinges on how well those acquisitions do (Bodden trade looked good this time last year...) that truly answers this question. But as I said, my initial gut check after reviewing the situations is good deal for both sides.

2. What do you prefer: Aaron Curry at 1.1 or Stafford/OT at 1.1 and James Laurinaitis at 1.20?

Whoa there pilgrim! Stafford/OT and Laurinitis at 20 is my only option? Sorry, not sold on Laurinitis as more than a 2 down LB or run-stopping ILB in a 3-4. He may slip to the 2nd depending on what positions have a run. If the Lions stand pat with what they have, I can easily see the #20 pick being traded. There has been lots of movement of picks -- almost more trades than stand pat -- in the second half of the first round in recent years. Once the "money slots" are past, then teams start maneuvering to grab the guys they really want ala Ravens and Flacco, for instance. The #20 and #33 could get a lot of play, and turn into multiple picks each for the Lions.

As for Curry at #1 -- I am a total Curry fan. But the money has to work out. This is an ongoing little back and forth that NetRat and I have been having for the last couple of weeks. The most likely contract for #1 overall (non-QB) based on the slotted prior contracts and increase in the cap is likely to be (as per NetRat):

Estimated #1 overall draft pick non-QB contract

$2.5 million salary $2 mill roster bonus and $6 mill signing bonus year 1. Cap hit of $5.2 mill.
$3.85 mill salary guaranteed $2 mill roster bonus and another $18 mill signing bonus year 2. Cap hit of $11.05 mill
$5.2 mill salary $1 mill roster bonus and another $1 mill workout bonus year 3. Cap hit of $12.9 mill
$6.55 mill salary $1 mill roster bonus and another $1 mill workout bonus year 4. Cap hit of $14.25 mill
$7.9 mill salary $1 mill roster bonus and another $1 mill workout bonus year 5. Cap hit of $15.6 mill
Total $34.35 guaranteed, 5 years, $60 mill total.

Remember, the draft payscale is slotted, QBs get more, all the others get about the slotted amount, regardless of what position they play.

Keep in mind, Bart Scott's deal paid him $7 million a year as a top FA LB. Non-Pass rushing 3-4 LB (which are essentially DE's contractually/job wise) top out not much over that.

Take the top two LB drafted last year (all number from NFL.com Draft History)

9. Keith Rivers LB Cincinnati Signed 6 years, $23 million ($15.6M guaranteed)
10. Jerod Mayo LB New England Signed 5 years, $18.9 million ($13.8M guaranteed)

Now look at what #4 and #5 -- the lowest he is likely to slide -- got:

4. Darren McFadden RB Oakland Signed 6 years, $60 million ($26M guaranteed)
5. Glenn Dorsey DT Kansas City Signed 5 years, $51 million ($23M guaranteed)

From 5 to ten you are looking at an increase of $10 million in guaranteed money! AND the overall numbers (thought inflated more at the end) are also much higher. If the Lions believe there will be a salary cap in the new CBA, the only way I can see the Lions really being able to justify taking Curry that high will be if he is willing to sign a contract around the 28 million to 30 million max range. Even on a 6 year deal, he will end up being in the 10 mil a year range total -- about a 40% pay increase over the top LB. He's dead on when LB's are rooting for him to go #1 overall -- even if he takes a "lesser" contract, he'll still be setting huge records for LB pay and driving the costs up.

So why do I think the Lions may not do it? As NetRat says, it's all about the agents.

It hasn't happened (since salary cap was instituted), mainly because the agents know and the teams know the pay is slotted, higher for QBs, nearly the same for any other position and it's based on when drafted.

If an agent takes less, he will need to be able to defend his position on that to his potential clients the next year as all the competing agents are going to use it against him when trying to sign their clients. It's a cut throat business and agents play a fine line... they are not out for the team, they make money on the client, and they need more clients to make more money.

Curry is going to have to overcome quite a few obstacles to be the #1 overall selection. What we've seen about what Curry and the Lions are saying is that Curry is very much buying into being #1 overall. Just from his writing on SI.com and his statements, interviews...he wants it bad -- and not just for the money. Curry wants to be the first salary-cap era LB chosen #1 overall...only the 5th LB to go 1 overall in NFL draft... it's that even more than the extra money at #1 driving him. If he can get his agent to go along, and get a deal done that Detroit can live with money wise, then I am all for the pick -- and think the Lions will pull the trigger.

As for scenario 2, I say plan B. is an OT at 1 and trade 20. Otherwise, forget position and go BPA with 20 and 33. After all, it's not as if the Lions have so many stars that they couldn't go BPA the whole draft and upgrade with every pick in the first thru 3rd rounds.

3. Are any of the young linemen on the roster (Cohen, Ikaika A-F, Fluellen) capable of filling Redding's shoes?

All of the above. Based on what little we've seen, all three are capable of matching Redding's production at DT the last couple of years. Fluellen, with a fully healthy ifseason has a chance to get in there, and Cohen may turn out to be the steal of the draft. IAF will be the one that may slide to end at times on 1st and 2nd down, and then to DT on passing downs.

The real big factor is the Lions weren't planning on leaving Redding at DT -- the plan all along is the need to draft a run stuffing DT and that doesn't change with or without Redding. They have enough holes that they were willing to rotate in Coehn and Fluellen with Jackson & Draft pick to see what they have in them before deciding on what type of additional lineman they need. IAF will fill the the 3rd down inside rush role that Redding would have played -- and for less money. It remains to be seen if he will step up to the plate. But Redding wasn't last season so it was a question no matter what. If not, they can pick up another DT with what will likely be an early 2nd or 3rd in next year's draft.

This team has way too many holes to expect the starters to be filled in, much less the depth players, with quality talent in one ifseason.

6 comments:

Isphet said...

When you look at the money situation; it's hard to justify ANYONE with the first pick of the draft. Problem is; none of the talent available is REALLY standing out as a sure-fire number one overall pick at ANY of the positions the Lions are looking for.

Stafford making pick #1 QB money is way too much of a gamble. He's more like a top ten gamble type pick than a number 1, especially considering the money angle.

Curry will be making record LB money. He's not an ideal money pick. Sucks, because he's clearly the stand-out superstar in the draft for his position, but he's in a position that financially doesn't make sense to draft there.

None of the LTs strike me as a sure-fire, Jake Long type lock as the overall number 1 pick. Maybe if Andre Smith hadn't imploded, he could have been that guy. The rest of em look like lower top-5 pick guys at best.

D line looks the same way. No one here is super-dominant. Raji is exactly the prototypical huge inside lineman that Mayhew will want because of his size and ability; but again he's an A- to A range, not quite an A+ like Curry. Still, I think he makes the most sense overall from both a money and also a "what the Lions are looking for and needing" standpoint.

Seems like there's no perfect fit for the first pick, no matter which way you slice it. My thinking is, screw normal financial decisions, just get the one guy that's the most complete player for his position; and that's Curry; no question.

nobsnubber said...

Buried deep in the 'Redding loses weight" story for Seahawks is the effects of Schwartz's first impressions on Redding.

Redding was losing weight as he was switching to DE. Redding said he was going to make the same switch in Detroit as well. Sounds like the "D" line was going to get bigger. Well, if Redding was too small and getting turned out at 295-305---why? Stop the run. Get bigger. Ali Raji Shiek from BC is 330. The Lions want to get bigger.

He came into town today, and DT's slot better than MLB's when it comes to pay and salary cap with a #1 pick. There are no other DT's rated highly. The Lions could probably snag Evander Hood or Peria Jerry with #33. But Laurinitis and Maunaulaga will be gone by then. The Lions want three impact players that can start from day #1. A QB probably can't do that for you when he is drafted. He needs time.

The other dependent is....Max Unger. The Lions need a left guard and a backup center. My knock on Raiola for years is that he gets knocked around because he is too light. We all know he can pull and block in space.

Unger gives them a left guard right away, and a 300 pound center backup. The Lions can then slide Unger in the future when they are ready to have him replace Dom. I think this guy will be a steal at #33 if the Lions can get their DT and LB in the first two picks.

Remember, TE is a luxury and Casey Fitz can play TE and slot. Linehan used Kleinsasser in the same manner in Minnesota. But James Casey from Rice may be a day 2 #1 pick at the top of the third round. Another option may be Robiske (WR) from Ohio State. If he falls, it would be a steal. The kid's father has coached forever in the NFL and he's been around some pretty good receivers. If not, look for a fallen CB in the third.

DetFan1979 said...

I didn't exlicitly state it, but Stafford makes the LEAST sense of any of the possible #1's -- which for me at this point are Curry, Raji, J. Smith and Monroe.

QB's slot 10 - 15% higher AT LEAST than the other positions -- and thanks to Matt Ryan's deal at #3 last year, which was more than #1, that isn't going to change.

Keep in mind that for #1 overall money we're looking at, pretty much any non-QB position that would be selected -- from OT, LB, DE, DT, CB, RB -- is going to be near that range. Look at the link and the only one out of slotting order is the QB Ryan. Rest fall right in line. (which makes me wonder why there are so many holdouts)

Agree if they get LB and DT first two picks, then one of the big OG/C at #33 would polish off the Oline for now. Backus will play much better with a top OG next to him. If not, there is always next year's top 10 pick for an OT...

DetFan1979 said...

BTW - Good point about Redding; I should have emphasized that more.

Also missed is the fact that Peterson WASN'T asked to take a pay cut -- according ot his presser. Mayhew also indicated that he had been trying to pry Peterson away from Seattle, but they couldn't agree on a price (read: Seattle wanted a higher round pick, and Mayhew didn't want to give up one of the first 5 picks in 1-3; leaving a 5th) Mayhew stated that Seattle only gave and made a deal when he offered up Redding.

What really strikes me about this difference is rather than Mayhew just taking advantage of a situation, he actually saw a need and then went out and proactively made something happen.

My % on a Cutler trade is about 5% right now. We'll see...

Isphet said...

Stafford had his pro day; there's very differing opinions about his performance; based on who you listen to.

Killer's saying his performance was about what you'd expect, but nothing special. NFL.com is reporting that Stafford was very very impressive. The answer is probably somewhere in the middle.

Regardless, the outcome is that I doubt Stafford's pro day has changed the Lions' draft plans; whatever those may be.

nubs said...

Agreed

I am SURE, that Stafford's agent has taken Mayock and a few other out to lunch. THAT is a given, that is why the agent will make $1-5 million on his deal. I am also sure that it wasn't a sloppy joe and macaroni.