The Lions Congregation was a great success, and plans are in the works to give the Congregation it’s own special gathering place here at Roar of the Lions as a repository of opinions from the best Lions bloggers on the web. For now, look for another installment this Friday evening.
Now that the frenzy of free agency is over, it is time to take a look at some overall pictures of the Lions roster and see where they are in comparison to when the Ifseason officially kicked-off last Friday. Sean over at Pride of Detroit has saved me, you, and countless other Lions fans lots of time by summarizing the Free Agency moves thus far. I’m going to take it one step further and put down my intial reaction to each move.
- WR Nate Burleson; 5 years, $25 million with $11 million guaranteed (March 5) I think this is a great move on many levels. I’ve always liked Burleson and think he was just plain unlucky in Seattle, and overlooked by a lot of fans in Randy Moss’ shadow in Minnesota. He isn’t here to be #1. He’s here to make other teams pay for double/triple covering CJ. He also already knows most of the offense inside and out, which will be a big help for CJ as well as on the field.
- DE Kyle Vanden Bosch; 4 years, $26 million with $10 million in 2010 (March 5) Vanden Bosch is getting a little older, but it was more the performance of the overall Titan’s D in 2009 that slowed him down. All that being said, while he isn’t in his prime he still has a lot left to offer.
- WR Brian Clark; 1 year (March 8) He is a pure special teamer at this point in his career. But does he have the potential for more?
- CB Jonathan Wade; 1 year (March 8) Like this pickup quite a bit. He was a serviceable CB in St. Louis who feel out of favor with the coaching staff. He could very well compete for a starting job, andat worst will be a solid depth. Let’s not forget most CB’s come in their 4th year or so in the NFL as at takes time to adjust to all of the rules favoring the offense in the pro game, among other things.
- OT Jon Jansen; 1 year, $860,000 (March 5) Good depth resigning for the vet minimum; like it as much as I did before FA started.
- LB Vinny Ciurciu; 1 year (March 5) looked up a bit more on him since my initial FA piece, and still think he is a solid ST player, but don’t see him as strong depth at this point.
- TE Will Heller; 3 years (March 8) great re-signing. He is a bit stronger blocker than Pettigrew at this point, but his pass catching skills aren’t quite as good. Need at least two TE to make this offense work well, and with Heller and Pettigrew, they do.
- Received from Cleveland: DT Corey Williams, 2010 7th-round pick; Sent to Cleveland: 2010 5th-round pick originally belonging to Denver (March 5) LOVE this deal. More thoughts on this later, but this is a great deal for Detroit to get a player who suffered from square peg into round hole misuse.
- Received from Atlanta: CB Chris Houston, 2010 5th-round pick; Sent to Atlanta: 2010 5th-round pick, 2010 6th-round pick (March 8) Highly underrated pickup. This guy is a solid starter who was pushed out by a marquee FA signing. In two years, Atlanta will be wishing they kept him around. His passes defended were high, even if his INT total isn’t. Given a bit of coaching, and as he hits his 4th year watch out!
- CB Phillip Buchanon (March 4) At worst, Wade and Houston are Buchanon level CB’s with a lot more upside.
- DT Grady Jackson (March 5) Hill came on andprogressed quicker than the staff hoped for last season. With Williams also in the fold and McCoy or most likely Suh coming along soon as well, he was expendable.
- DE Dewayne White (March 8) Injuries totally derailed what were flashes of great talent and abilityas an all around end. I still like this pickup the best of all the Marinelli guys brought in, but the injuries just have taken too much of a toll. He is a solid DE when healthy — when healthy being the key words because he hasn’t been. I’d like to see him back as depth since he can play either end if the price is right.
Restricted Free Agent Tenders (March 4)
- OG Manny Ramirez (Right of First Refusal [ROFR] & Original Draft Compensation [4th-round pick]) – $1,101,000 good offer to tender to be sure he doesn’t get lost for nothing. Had a shaky year, but could still have an impact if he can get his head in the game.
- OG Daniel Loper (ROFR) – $1,226,000 Lingering health issues hurt him last season and he was by far the most disappointing acquisition to me. Hopefully he can step it up and stay healthy.
- C Dylan Gandy (ROFR & Original Draft Compensation [4th-round pick]) – $1,176,000 I can see not wanting to lose him, but to who? His greatest asset to the team is backing up Raiola, but he wasn’t doing so hot as a starting G last season. Hopefully, he will continue to progress.
- DE Jason Hunter (ROFR & 2nd Round Compensation) – $1,759,000He was the steal of the waiver wire in 2009 and is a very solid rotational end with the potential for more.
- DE Copeland Bryan – Not tendered Not surprised as he didn’t show a whole lot in his time here.
- LB Cody Spencer – Not tendered Ditto Spencer.
- CB Kevin Hobbs (ROFR) – $1,101,000 Could be decent depth, and I think he is young enough he could develop.
- S Daniel Bullocks (ROFR & Original Draft Compensation [recognized as a 3rd-round pick]) – $1,176,000 I was a bit confused by this at first, as I had thought he wasn’t really impressing the current coaching staff, but maybe with a full year to get his knee fully healthy this time, he will be able to win that job I thought he would last season next to Delmas.
- S Ko Simpson (ROFR & Original Draft Compensation [4th-round pick]) – $1,176,000 Not a surprise as Simpson had some solid games and would at least be good depth – which would be good considering how the position was decimated last year by injuries.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents Tendered Offers (March 4)
Of all these guys, Nordin did okay in limited action, but I see him on the practice squad again. Follett was turning into a special teams demon, and may even be able to work into the defensive rotation this year. If he continues to improve on ST I see him getting an extension in 2011. The others I haven’t seen enough of to know.
In regards to one player not listed here – Larry Foote. I love what he did for the team last year from an effort and leadership standpoint. However, looking at the business side he wants to be a starter making starter money and that isn’t going to happen. Deandre Levy was on the verge of taking every job in the LB corps last season at one point or another. Levy’s future is at MLB and for the Lions the future for the young guys is now. If Foote doesn’t get the starting deal he wants elsewhere he could be back as a backup/rotational guy (swapping roles with Levy from last year) making backup money. Not fun as a fan, but business is business and Mayhew seems to be doing well thus far, so I’m willing to keep giving him a shot. Remember, Jordan Dizon was also showing great progress as the season wore on last year as well and could be ready for an increased role backing up all 3 LB spots.
Tags: Brandon Pettigrew, Brian Clark, Chris Houston, Corey Williams,Daniel Bullocks, Daniel Loper, DeAndre Levy, Detroit Lions News, Detroit Lions Offseason 2010, DeWayne White, Dylan Gandy, Grady Jackson, Jason Hunter, Jon Jansen, Jonathan Wade, Jordan Dizon, Ko simpson, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Larry Foote, Manny Ramirez, Nate Burleson, NFL 2010,Phillip Buchanon, Vinny Ciurciu, Will Heller, Zack Follett