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.