Wednesday, April 22, 2009

LB or QB? Call Heads or Tails...

Well, the percentages are down to 50/50. As widely reported today, including by Killer on Mlive, the Detroit Lions have agreed to terms with Aaron Curry to be the #1 pick in the draft.

Don't get too excited there folks -- there is one catch keeping me from cracking open a cold one and toasting to Mayhew...

They have also offered a contract to Matt Stafford. If he takes it by Friday, he is the pick. If he doesn't, Aaron Curry is a Lion.

That simple.

Isphet had some great thoughts on this, so I am posting his comment from the last article here:

"This is a brilliant move on the Lion's part. They can get Curry for a reasonable number 1 pick salary; or they float a number out to Stafford that's maybe slightly more and say: "choose before Friday to play for us for that money."

What's great about it is this: They can get Stafford for a reasonable price, OR Stafford can basically say "No." and the Lions take Curry for a reasonable price.

This gives Stafford an out if he doesn't really want to be in Detroit without making him look like a whiny Eli Manning when he got drafted by the chargers. This ALSO gives Detroit an out with the media if they end up taking Curry. "We WANTED Stafford, but he wanted too much money, or he decided he didn't want to play for us, so what was the point of drafting him?"

My guess is that Stafford passes on the contract and the Lions draft Curry. 60%/40% Curry/Stafford at this point.

They've basically given Stafford a free pass to say "I don't really want to play for the Lions." It's gut-check time for Stafford to see if he REALLY wants to be in Detroit. The question is: Does he take it? If so, we know he's taking not a HUGE contract and not just doing it for the money, so he's going a long way towards proving himself to Lions fans if he takes that contract and is drafted by the Lions.

I know I'll be a lot happier with Stafford knowing he's not just in Detroit for the money, but because he WANTS to be.

Kudos to Mayhew for putting everyone in a position to win and get what they want; now to see how it all works out in the end. ~~ Isphet"

Hear Hear!

I hope Mayhew stands firm on whatever it is he offered to Stafford. I disagree totally with one line from Killer's piece that I have seen repeated elsewhere:

"The price of the contract can only go up in the final hours so Condon likely will push the issue as far as he feels he has something to gain."

Why would it go up? Stand firm Mayhew! You've said what you are willing to pay, you have Curry ready to go! Why would they suddenly give more on Friday?

The LIONS and Martin Mayhew set the deadline -- not Tom Condon. That means the closer it gets to Friday, the less bargaining power Condon has. Mayhew has painted a bright honolulu-blue line in the sand and said "You with us or not? Because we're happy over here with Aaron Curry if you want to stay over there."

Making it public and stating it the way he has leads me to believe pretty strongly that Mayhew has had enough BS and the negotiating is pretty much over. A contract with Stafford will be done on the Lions' terms or not at all. Along with Curry accepting same/less than Long as per his own statements, a clear message is being sent to the Agents that they, Condon especially, are not going to like: You don't run the draft, you don't make us pay what you want for who we want -- if your player wants to be here we will give him a fair deal, and if he only wants the big payday -- go home.

This is the same message Mayhew has been giving free agents all ifseason long -- should we really be surprised he is doing so when negotiating with the #1 overall pick as well? He is still being consistent with his actions on how he is going to go about building this team.

Curry deal is at it's highest the same as Jake Long's last year. Possibly lower. Condon DID NOT count on Curry agreeing to terms like that (after all, who takes less than last year's #1 pick irregardless of position -- that's crazy!) He's been floating that $40 million guaranteed number out there for weeks now... if he takes less, he looks weak. If he gives in to the Lions' demands for a lower contract, he looks weak. It's going to be a bad couple of days for Condon -- because something tells me Mayhew is going to win this game of chicken on his terms.

The Lions truly hold all the cards -- they own the pick. Tom Condon knows every ounce of leverage he may have had went out the window when the Lions announced Curry agreeing to terms. Plus, he still has no idea if he is negotiating with the Lions...or a team they may be trading down with -- which is another consideration for why they haven't signed Curry yet at this point.

Lets say the Lions have a possible partner -- but the trade doesn't happen. So they say Stafford didn't take their offer, and go with Curry. Even if Condon tries to say "But Detroit wouldn't negotiate...or...We took their offer! Really!" it will come across as nothing but damage control by Condon for screwing up -- whether it is true or not.

I agree with Isphet that Mayhew has put Detroit in an excellent position. How he as played the Ifseason and his draft gambits at this point has led me to have enough confidence in him to give him a shot. IF Stafford agrees to terms and they take him -- I will trust he was indeed their #1 choice for a reason, and give him a shot and support.

Trusting the front office of the Lions to evaluate talent will be hard to get used to...hope that trust is not, once again, misplaced...


nubsnobber said...

OK, so let me get this straight. Aaron Curry is a Lion, unless Matthew Stafford accepts less money than the $40 million dollars he wants in guaranteed monies. Stafford is right where Mayhew wants him.

So Stafford agrees in principal and gets drafted #1....then holds out and gets the fair market share of $40 million dollars and misses two weeks of camp. Who is right where who wants whom?????????

nubsnobber said...

or........the Detroit Lions sign Matthew Stafford to $35 million in guaranteed monies, trade him to the New York Jets (who traded St. Louis earlier Saturday for the #2 pick) for the #2 pick, and then select Aaron Curry.

Isphet said...

Yay! :)

Anonymous said...

I posted this in the last article and didn't want it to go missed by anyone...

I hope Stafford will pass on the offer. I would love to see ANYONE else come to the Lions.

1. Georgia ran a pro style offense with NFL equivalent coaches. They couldn't turn him into a super star what makes the Lions think they can? We have a Stafford on our team right now; Drew Stanton. Stanton came from a team with a less than adequate line with less then desirable surrounding support, a very strong arm and he has very similar numbers to Stafford, give the kid a chance.

2. Why pay 30-50 million for a player that may not even see the field this year. Draft someone that will play and probably from day one.

3. I just want this done, the Stafford wives on the other forums are driving me crazy already anointing him a pro bowl career before he even throws his first NFL pass. Give me a break, let a player prove something before anointing him with such accolades.

4. Give me Curry, Raji or one of the tackles. Fix the trenches and everything else will fall into place. Grab a corner or safety early second or third round and draft BPA the rest of the way drafting for need. There are a few linebackers that can be found third and forth round area that will have good NFL careers, it won't be the end of the world if we don't get Curry.

5. If I had input I would want Curry because he is not only one of the most talented players, he is probably the most well rounded person who people of all ages can aspire too and undoubtedly will be good for any community he chooses to put his time and effort toward. That is a lot of money to drop on an individual who isn't ready for the responsibility of acting like an "all pro" in every aspect of life and profession. At this point he is the clear leader in character and he has shown early to have outstanding maturity for a young man coming out of college.

My clear choice is Curry but I love football and will try to see the positive in anyone coming to the Lions franchise. I just truly believe that the pick can be better utilized with someone that plays a different position than qb. Can't wait for Saturday.


RIP said...

There is a bright side if we take Stafford this year. Next year we would be able to concentrate on BPA, say Mays FS USC.

CHIEFGER139 said...

iVE posted like isphet did too that its a win win situation. we get stafford for our price or we just take curry. I want stafford and cant believe his agent would let him by pass the 1st pick money and let it go to curry so I would say its 80% stafford if they really want him. stafford to johnson-td!!

Riley said...

love it.

No matter what, the Lions will have their number on pick signed and in camp, on time.

AZ Mark said...

I hope the smoke is on Stafford (don't Like him) and he does not sign and they sign Curry. With that said there were many times I liked the draft picks for the Lions Harrington, C.Rogers ect. I was wrong then because they were bust I hope I'm wrong with Stafford and he does great if the Lions draft him. I do know one thing if Stafford is the guy than I hope Mayhew hits a home run. I see this as a Millen pick.


DetFan1979 said...

I don't see this as a Millen pick -- signing Stafford to a record deal on Monday woudl have been a Millen move...

Mayhew has played this out with skill and poise. I am quite pleased with his job on this and hope he continues likewise through the draft.

Sources are saying that Schwartz and Linehan like Stafford, and were driving forces in the discussion. Curry is, from what I've heard, a close second.

So the coaching staff, Mayhew, and the scouts all agree these two are close and are leaning to QB first.

I will not peg this as a Millen pick -- hope that if Condon does take the deal offered that Stafford works out for the Lions.

It's a big gamble - but then again, since when isn't any pick a gamble, the first overall being the biggest??

50%... no matter who it is flip a coin. Heads = Good Player, Tails = Bust.

Only a couple more days...

BTW - at this point, I think Condon looks at his options, and Stafford takes the deal. If not you can guarantee he is going to either St. Louis or Seattle.

DetFan1979 said...

Riley -

Totally agree -- signed and in camp on time. No matter who it is that is a huge deal right there!!

AZ Mark said...

I just see it as I out in Az and really don't have many Lion friends out here all my friends co-workers have different teams from Bears, Cowboys, Rams, Tampa Bay, 49ers and they can't see why Detroit would really draft Stafford they just can't see it because of the holes on defense. They say it as a Millen pick because it's offense pick.

I did say that I was wrong on some picks in the past on the talent level and the bust and I hope I'm wrong here where I think Stafford is not good and he will be great. I hope he is great if Detroit if he's the pick. I hope they are right. And like I said next year there are better QB prospects on paper next year and I feel we will be picking top ten next year as well.

I do have one question on Stafford what other team has Stafford at #1? where 3 other teams have Sanachez higher? I'm not bashing or any thing just asking.

I do see this #1 pick as lose lose this year I do hope who every the Lions pick is I hope he is a home run and I do have a lot of faith in Mayhew.

I just heard on 97.1 the ticket if we drafted Curry #1 would Stafford be there at #20?

On the QB position I can think of some QB's that were not drafted in the top 32 of picks and they are darn good Brady, Warner, Cassle(jury still out) Romo to name a few and I do know there's a lot out there that have been. I guess I just don't see QB as much of a need this year.


AZ Mark said...

Oops I forgot I love what Mayhew is doing and putting it all on the agents and Stafford to take less money and Curry takes less to be a Lion I do love that.


David M said...

If it is as you have said, then Mayhew has perfectly maneuvered himself into an offensive position, one where COndon doesnt have much leverage. I like it a lot!

Since there is no clearcut number 1 this year, the Lions do have extra negotiating power with players because they can just go with Curry if Stafford falls through. As Mayhew said time and time again, he is not married to any player.
My, my... how different this April is from the previous ones under Millen.

Isphet said...

I've always wanted Curry over Stafford, but I am warming up to the idea of Stafford for a long term plan.

We all know that even with the extra draft picks the Lions have this year, they can't fill ALL of their holes. The offense is a few players away from being pretty set: QB (whether it's Daunte or a draft pick somewhere this year, this is a major issue for the Lions.) and fixing the O line will require anywhere from 1-4 players on the line being replaced, depending on who you ask. Also, a good TE would be a nice luxury.

The Lions can go a LONG way towards righting the ship on offense by getting a QB and drafting a left tackle (which a good one should still be available at their 20th pick.) Then shift Backus over to guard to play next to his buddy Raiola, and that should at minimum make the O line better than it has been.

Beyond that, a pretty good sized Nose Tackle, or a good middle linebacker should still be available at the 33rd pick. More likely a MLB because this draft is so deep with linebackers; but Peria Jerry could possibly be there still I suppose.

Defense will still have some glaring holes this way, I know. But the offense should be pretty set and have the year to learn how to play with eachother, and the defense can't be any worse. Then next year, the Lions us their draft pick (which will most likely be somewhere between the 4th and 20th selection, I don't see them making the playoffs without fixing their defense) to select either a MLB or a NT, whatever they didn't get this year. At that level pick, they can still get a top flight LB or NT next year, but getting a QB with say the 17th pick would be quite the stretch.

So when you look at this draft as the first of two to really fill holes, going with Stafford makes some sense. This gives the offense a year to learn and we all know that defensive players learn systems faster and impact a team more quickly than their offensive counterparts, so next year, the Lions should have gone a long way towards fixing their team through the draft. If you fix the D this year, then draft offense NEXT year, it's going to take the offense a year of practice and struggling to actually get better; which prolongs the Lions' rebuilding plans into three years instead of two.

So I guess the plan if they get Stafford is: fix the offense now since it's close, and fix the defense some this year and a lot next year; and hopefully there's only one year of struggling before they can turn it around. Makes sense in theory at least.

RIP said...

I too am warming up to the idea of Stafford.

With Curry, with the versatility he would bring to our defense, the defense could move us into top 25. Adding a Davis or Butler could bring us into top 20. The defensive line and safeties holding us back.

I doubt Schwartz would be for Stafford if it wear not for Linehan. Both know that the center piece to an offense is the quarterback. If Linehan is comfortable with Stafford, then so is Schwartz. The person who may have originally pushed for a QB with first pick was contract man Lewand. Stafford does project better with the new offense better than Sanchez. The only trade possibility I see would be with the Jets, which I believe to be too low for the Lions.

As Isphet said, this would be the year to fine fix the offense, and build for the future. There are a few exceptional interior linemen available this year. Pettigrew has good upside potential in improving speed and strength (developing more of his body) with an NFL work out program.

Also as he mentions, and I will add DE and CB, it takes a year for most QBs and WRs to get up to speed. It takes a few games for OL to mesh together.

Build the offense this year with a couple rookies on defense, and then go defense the following years until it is fixed.

Todd said...

Hey all...

Glad to see you guys all warming up to Stafford. I am by no means a Stafford lover either and was very much on the Curry wagon. I started to recently like Stafford though and hes been growing on me a lot these last few days. I mean hey, this is Detroit and after all he is the "flashy" pick haha.

But no, in all seriousness I thought I was like the only one beginning to like him after everyone else is Curry, Curry, Curry. I am even more happy to see Isphet and Rip's logical arguments on why I am allowed to jump on his bandwagon. This makes perfect sense, finish up with the offense because they can go through their pains this year while we still are a lower echelon team and then next year we go all defense!

Thanks for the boost as usual fellas. I hope they get a deal done today so we don't have to be in suspense with the 1st pick anymore and I can get comfortable for Saturday.

Todd said...


Detfan and Nubs id like to see you guys get on board or at least acknowledge this logic, I also respect your opinions very much.

Where has JJLions been?? I thought he'd resurface for the draft we haven't heard from him since Kitna was still in the mix for starting.

DetFan1979 said...

thought it was clear I'm on board with whatever this front office does as far as the first pick at this point --

the masterful way they have handled the draft game so far, FA, and trades screams "there is a new sheriff in town and his name isn't Millen."

My order of preference is still:

Curry, Smith, Stafford.

I'm about even on all three at this point, for different reasons.

One thing that does make sense in how the Lions are handling this is that they are more likely to be in position to draft the MLB of their choosing than the QB of their choosing next year.

Also, time to grow is not a bad thing where QB's are concerned. The change in system, as well as 4-5 new starters will already garner at least some improvement on the D and the draft isn't one pick long.

I expect them to go BPA the whole way down -- so be ready for some surprises. Could be more offense than we woudl guess because of talent available where the Lions are picking -- but I don't think you will be seeing the Millenesque reaches in the 2nd round as in the past.

Also, no harm in warming up to a prospect -- especially since there is an 80% chance at this point he will be the future QB of the Lions!

I've been fine with the idea for quite a while -- like I said -- not my first choice, but I'll bow to Schwartz, Mayhew and Co. have better knowledge on this matter than I.

DetFan1979 said...

btw - JJLions, like many of us, has been stretched for time. He still checks in when he can.

I've been coaching soccer, so my apolgies on no new main stories -- keep up with these comments though!!

There will be lots to analyze after the draft, and as the ifseason progresses.

Mark said...

I'm warming up to it to but, still think is smoke and mirrors and I think Curry or Monroe will be the pick. if they keep it Just a gut.


Anonymous said...

Today Tom LuLu was on Fox saying they were going to be building the team the right way, through the draft. I'm so glad the guy doing the contracts knows so much about football and our new GM is essentially a rookie himself. Well it looks like the Titians all over again. Vince Young 2.0 here we come. I won't be renewing my season tickets because I believe nothing has changed and I refuse to believe that anything has till they prove it. I've said enough on this, I will be sad to see them draft the second best QB in the draft this year at number one.


nubs said...

SOCCER? Go pink lions.

My two munchkins had basbeall practice (I also coach) and tomorrow is 1st Communion. So, I hope to be back home eating lasagna and driking with a few family members watching the draft.

Anybody who boos Matthew Stafford in Harbor Springs gets popped in the mouth.

Let's get one thing straight. I'm a team player, I always have been. I am a firm believer that a good team can run the same play 20 times in a row and beat a bad team. And you always CHEER FOR YOUR TEAM! Love it or leave it.

I am a firm believer that defense is what they need to draft. Rod Marinelli took the naive approach of trying to build the offense first thinking that he could bring in the defensive knowledge he already possessed and impose his genius intuition and partake that amongst a coaching staff. Donnie Henderson didn't get it and was promptly fired for the son-in-law.

The Lions operated on this principal under Rod and it suffered. I feel that the free agent market will also yield a few more defensive players when cut downs come. That may be a reason the front office wants to daft offense (QB, LT, TE, WR, or LG).

But MAKE NO MISTAKE...I am also a Lions fan and am on-board with whatever the coaching staff decides. This is my hobby, passion, pastime. I can't control what they do anyway. I will still root for the Honolulu Blue. And I will direct anyone who boos to go play with a Vik-queen. Here's my Buccaneers, where's your buccan-eyes? This guy bleeds Honolulu Blue.

Have fun tomorrow no matter how you watch it, and we'll see which way the Lions go. I will try getting on tomorrow and posting a few things during the draft. I think we'll see some nice pieces landscaped.

Anonymous said...

The boos are probably more for the direction or should I say typical NFL direction. A QB is not going to change this team right now. Great way to spend 72 million dollars, he better be good and when will we know? Any other position drafted would be starting on day one. Starting Stafford on day one could lead to a catastrophic out come much in the likes of Ware, Harrington, Leinhart, or especially Vince Young. This is a gamble that historically has around a 50/50 outcome on success and not the way I would go about spending that much money in a depressed area with a team that hasn't even been really competitive in years (although the 6-2 start was very promising until the lossing began). Even if he did come out starting on day one, I personally don't believe he will have anywhere near the success of Flacco or Ryan so don't even come with that arguement, the two teams they play for are good all the way around.

I'm glad I let my season tickets expire. I hope this isn't as painful of a season as last but at least I won't be supporting them with money, only in spirit my friend, only in spirit and even that is getting to be trying. I hope I'm wrong but I'm pretty confident that I'm not.

Even this hasn't spoiled my anticipation for the draft, lets bring it on. Like I said before I'm a fan of football so even if I feel the Lions are doing wrong I will still enjoy following all of the other teams as they fill their rosters with new talent.

I really hope this coaching staff gets it all together and fields a competitive team it will be a whole lot easier to swallow if Stafford is a wasted pick but let's hope he isn't.


Anonymous said...

Am I bad our Jamarcus Russell clone is poised to make 78 million not 72. Good luck Corky, err I mean Matt Stafford.


nubsnobber said...


And you're expecting, Anne Sullivan??? These guys are like Helen Keller this year.

FOUR WINS IS A HUGE IMPROVEMENT. This is the perfect time to let a rookie QB sit back and observe. Better now than later. Look at what the Falcons did. or the Dolphins? That's not happening here. Look for something more modest. I'll wait and see what the Lions bring into the fold and how they look down the line, but if you're thinking playoffs, think this through.

The coaching staff has warned us, as has the front office that this is not window dressing and they are "building this thing the right way".

Personally, I think this may be old man Ford window dressing to put butts in the seats. (((And think he would've done better with the MLB Curry))).

But, it's pretty mute (Helen Keller pun intended) to think that a QB sitting next year with Culpepper a year older would be clearer thinking. We also don't know if a healthier Dante and a slimmer Dante truly mean a Dante '02 version. They've been to camps and OTA's, and I'm 250 miles away typing on a computer. I'll trust them.