Friday, March 5, 2010

New Lions Congregation: FA Eve

New Lions Congregation: FA Eve

March 5th, 2010 | by detfan1979 |
UPDATED: Added Steve’s responses from Detroit Lions Weblog
While the Church of Schwartz has had to close its doors, and empty the stands the Lions Congregation still gathers to discuss the latest topics regarding the Detroit Lions! (Please note, all these answers were submitted prior to the start of Free Agency — this will be a weekly running segment each Friday, so look for Free Agency analysis as well!)
This week’s Congregation (due to the shortened time frame, not all the usual congregation members were able to get answers in for this week):
Philip Zaroo of
Joshua Pung – DetFan1979 of Roar of the Lions
1. Is there a restricted free agent you would be willing to give up draft picks for? Who and how much?
Big Al: Give up a draft pick? Any draft pick? No. Nope. Nada. Not gonna happen.For example, wouldn’t…say…the Eagle’s Jason Avant be a nice compliment to Calvin Johnson at wide receiver? His stats have increased every season of his career. Avant would be an excellent number 3 receiver. But what’s he going to cost? A 2nd round pick! No NFL team is going to offer a 2nd round pick for Jason Avant…especially with Matt Millen back in the booth.

How about a running back? Let’s go with the Titans’ Lendale White, who has a 1000 yard season under his belt, but was made irrelevant with the rise ofChris Johnson to elite status. It’s going to take a 2nd round pick to sign him. As the Lions are picking 2nd in the 2nd round, 34th overall, in position to nab a talented player who drops out of the 1st round, it’s too damn high a pick to give up…even for a productive running back like White.

The Lions aren’t in a position to be giving up any high draft picks in order to pick up a free agent. Sure, the Lions could use any player with talent, restricted or not. But any free agent worth signing would cost dearly in draft picks, and the Lions need quantity over quality. The Lions need bodies. Lots of them…and hopefully talented.

You don’t build a team through free agency. You build through the draft. Free agency is best used judiciously, to fill a few holes on a team on the cusp of contending. As we’ve seen over the past decade here in Detroit, the Lions are not on the cusp of anything.

Phil: Honestly, no, none that I can think of. I think there are a fewunrestricted free agents the Lions should pursue in Aaron Kampman, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Antrel Rolle and the running back I mention in point no. 2, below. Other than that, I’d keep the picks to build the team via drafting or trading.

DetFan1979: Despite some strong restricted free agents out there, I just don’t see any that I would like to see the Lions give up what they would have to give up to get them. I seem to remember that Sproles was not offered a tender and wouldn’t require draft compensation. If that is the case, then I would be fine with the Lions pursuing him as he has the home-run speed and skills they are looking for.
Steve: Acknowledging the premium placed on RFA’s in a year with fewer UFA’S, I am of the opinion that there are few players available that would be worth exchanging draft picks for, especially given the team’s apparently improved draft acumen.
2. Which Free Agent Running Back(Westbrook, Taylor, LT, Sproles, T.Jones, Johnson, et al) would you like to see the Lions sign – if any – and why?
Big Al: First off, let’s eliminate any restricted free agent who is going to cost the Lions a high draft pick. So Leon Washington, Lendale White,Cadallic Williams, Ronnie Brown, Jerome Harrison, Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, Jerious Norwood, all are out of the question.Once the young, talented, restricted backs are off the board, all that’s left are never-gonna-bes (Too numerous to mention), used-to-bes (Ahman Green,LaDainian Tomlinson), backups (Ryan Moats), always injured (Brian Westbrook, Willie Parker) and crazy (Larry Johnson), leaving a couple of possibilities. Thomas Jones and Chester Taylor. Unfortunately, both are over 30, and would be expensive to sign (Jones moreso than Taylor).

An NFL running back over 30 is the equivalent of a 40+ year old baseball player in the post steroids era. Their stats could, and likely will, drop off a cliff without notice. Meaning the Lions should stay away from any back on the bad side of being in their 3rd decade of life.

If the Lions are going to find a compliment/replacement for Kevin Smith, it’ll be through the draft, not free agency.

Phil: None of the free-agent running backs fits Detroit ’s needs of game-breaking speed. This is the only thing that’s going to really cause a defense to change the way it approaches the Lions. Darren Sproles has breakaway speed, but he’s a restricted free agent and probably too close to Aaron Brown in size and speed. At any rate, Detroit won’t, nor shouldn’t, give up a first and a third-round pick, which is what it would take to sign Sproles. In a nutshell, I’d like to see the Lions grab Thomas Jones, if it won’t cost an excessive amount. He’s proven durable and dependable, though he won’t put up the great numbers he has in New York .
DetFan1979: If the price is right, Jones and Taylor are the two backs I would like to see Detroit go after. Jones is a hard runner who has always managed to make the offenses he is playing for look better. That being said, age is catching up with him as evidenced during the Jets’ playoff run. The cliff could come any time just as it did with LT last season. In tandem with Mourice Morris either would be a strong presence in the backfield. Personally, I think that the Lions will look to the draft for a speed back to complement the every-down back in Morris and a healthy Smith. If Smith doesn’t return to form, we could see RB taken again next season. Smith will not be a factor again until halfway through 2010 at the earliest — most likely, 2011. No matter what FA they get (outside of Sproles) they will be drafting a back at some point. The question is when?
Steve: I like Thomas Jones, of the available backs, even though none of these available players probably has a lot of tread left on their tires.

The problem that I see is, if the Lions desire a gamebreaker, none of these backs, short of Sproles (no pun intended), is going to provide that variable.

Jones would provide a solid back, who if healthy, will pound the ball and draw the attention of the safeties, which will be of benefit in the Lions vertical passing attack.

3. If the Lions could sign only 3 free agents, who would you like to see them sign? (dream scenario, realistic scenario, or both)
Big Al: I’m going with a realistic scenario, as a dream scenario would just depress me, and I just don’t see the Lions getting all spendy, even in anupcapped year.Aaron Kampman DE: Kampman played LB in a 3-4 in Green Bay, a defense he doesn’t fit. He would fit damn nicely into Detroit’s 4-3 as a pass rushing DE. If there is one thing (of many) the Lions didn’t get from the defensive line last season is a consistent pass rush. Kampmann, who had 37 sacks in the 3 seasons previous to ‘09, would give the Lions a long missing outside pass rush (if healthy, as he’s recovering from an ACLinjury). It’s something we haven’t seen…Hell, it’s been so long, I don’t even remember.

Kevin Walter WR: Amazingly enough, after all the draft picks and free agents, the Lions STILL badly need a couple of wide receivers oppositeMegatron. Walter is a solid slot receiver, a player who has shown to be a nice compliment to a very talented wide out in his own right, Andre Johnsonin Houston. Walter would be an excellent pickup as a number 2/3 wide out.

Chris Redmond, QB: Redmond stepped in for an injured Matt Ryan in Atlanta, and played well, resurrecting his career in the process. Why Redmond? The Lions desperately need a backup QB. Redmond would come in with no expectations he would start, would be relatively inexpensive and give the Lions a modicum of insurance at the QB position. They could do a lot worse for a backup…and did in 2009.

Phil: Dream and realistic: Kampman/Rolle/Jones
DetFan1979: Realistically, I would like to see the Lions sign Thomas Jones, Aaron Kampman, and Kevin Walter. While most know Jones and Kampman, Walter was the #2 guy in Houston alongside Andre Johnson. He is a solid #2 guy and would be an excellent complement to CJ.
Steve: Julius Peppers, Dunta Robinson and Thomas Jones are the three players whom I believe could have a significant impact for the Lions, were they eventually signed.

This is not a great free agent class, so anything that the Lions can do to fill their gaping needs, leading up to the draft will be beneficial.

4. If Cromartie is released, do you want the Lions to sign him? (It appears Cromartie is being traded to the Jets for a 3rd/Conditional 2nd round pick in 2011, which was unkown at the time responses were made)
Big Al: Antonio Cromartie has caused problems off the field, and has declined on the field. Obviously, the Bolts know something is up with him. Why would they entertain letting a corner who had 10 picks in 2007 leave otherwise?If he’s not going to cost the Lions anything more than cash, thenCromartie is worth taking a flier. The talent is there…somewhere.Though the Lions should do so with all caution, being aware for any red flags. In the pass happy NFL, no team will release a quality cornerback, unless there is good reason.

In Cromartie’s case, all I can say is…caveat emptor.

Phil: I’d give him a shot if it didn’t cost anything, and you could sign him for an incentive-based deal. And most importantly, if you were convinced he wouldn’t hamper the locker room. Otherwise, as much as the Lions are DYING for help at corner, his value doesn’t justify the risk.
DetFan1979:The Lions had enough CB’s who couldn’t tackle, and the last thing the Lions need is players with Drama written all over them. He was a good cover corner, but has been slipping the last couple of years. His price tag is likely to be stratospheric with the thin FA market. I would say pass, despite being thin at the position.
Steve:No, I leave a talented, but disappointing player like Cromartie for other teams to have headaches over. Call it the Buchanan/Bodden effect, if you will.
As I indicated, this will be a new regular feature, and will include most of the members of the Original Lions Congregation over time. This is our first week back, and on short notice. Here’s to the Lions front office burning up the phones as I type! More free agent news in the days ahead, and more Lions Congregation next Friday!
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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2 Responses to “New Lions Congregation: FA Eve”

  1. By RIP on Mar 5, 2010

    Josh, I want to thank you for continuing this from the Church of Schwartz. Love the input everyone had from last year. A thank you also goes out to Big Al and Phil for thier continued participation.

    As for as any free agent goes, Aaron Kampman was at the top of my list followed by Kyle Vanden Bosch and Antrel Rolle or Darren Sharper if available by trade.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  2. By RIP on Mar 5, 2010

    Another person I would like to hear from, if you could recruit him, is Jerry Green. He is always well informed and still follows the team. Do hope the rest of the cast members come back.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

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