Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wanted: Lions Free Agents?

Wanted: Lions Free Agents?

January 12th, 2010 | by detfan1979 |

We know the Lions will be looking at the free agent market soon, and that some of their own will be walking away without a contract offer. There are six free agents (as per Killer Kowalski) who will be affected by the new CBA rules, andbecome restricted versus unrestricted free agents. This means that the Lions can tender them an offer equivalent to a draft pick (lets say a 3rd roundtender). Another team may sign that player, but must give up that draft pick to the Lions (or the Lions to a team if they sign any restricted free agents). This is why you see little movement of restricted free agents (normally) as they are not the type of players who you want to give up good draft picks for, but the type you are hoping to find a little lower in the draft.

This ifseason might be different due to the higher number of highly skilled restricted free agents coupled with a dearth of quality unrestricted free agents: The draft. A record number of Juniors are expected to declare, and the talent level is purported to be very deep this ifseason. Its a good year to have the draft broken up over three nights, and be holding the 2ndpick each night. There will be players in demand, and the Lions will not be the only team looking to get their hands on as much of this talent as possible. I’ve read a few places that guys who would normally go in the 4th or 5th may end up undrafted — which would be good news if Detroit can do as well as they did last draft on talent evaluation.

Before we get that far, lets look at the free agents in each category, and my thoughts on them. (in Italics after the name). You can also read Killer’s early take on who will/won’t be back.


T Jon Jansen Jon played as well as Gosder Cherilus — which tells me Gosder needs to step it up as Jansen is declining in his skill set. Still, he could be a capable backup andI would consider bringing him back again for the right price. However, he may get more money than the Lions want to spend for a backup as he is still serviceable which is more than some teams have right now.
QB Daunte Culpepper I may get hammered for this, but he didn’t play too badly the last game of the season. There isn’t a lot out there on the QB front as far as free agents; that being said, only for the right price which is right darn close to veteran minimum.
CB Will James Sure he got burned a lot, but he wouldn’t be a bad stop-gap to keep around a year or two. No way to fill all the offensive holes, and he could be dropped if something better came along in camp. He won’t likely garner more money than the Lions would offer in free agency as he showed the skills of a mediocre CB.
CB Anthony Henry To say he lost a step or two is an overstatement. There is likely a good reason the team didn’t have him at safety even with all the problems they had back there…
S Marquand Manuel What can I say about Manuel? Ended up injured and doing way less than even my not so stellar expectations for him.
QB Patrick Ramsey Let him compete with Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton, or bring in another journeyman.
TE Will Heller Those who kept saying Heller was just as good as Pettigrew saw what everyone else was finally seeing when Brandon Pettigrew went out with his knee injury: He just wasn’t as skilled or reliable in that crucial short passing game — especially for getting first downs — as Pettigrew. There is a reason he’s always been considered a blocking back. Lions will look to bring in more of a sledgehammer blocking back at TE to replace him.
TE Casey FitzSimmons He is a utility TE who keeps fighting injuries — but he was a crucial cog on special teams. If they don’t bring him back, it will be because someone like Gronk or another TE finally steps up their special teams and receiving play. I think the Lions will re-sign him. More of a pass catching than blocking TE, he andHeller together highlight why a TE like Pettigrew who does both can make such a big difference for an offense.
T Damion Cook Injuries kept him from seeing the field in 2009 as he was lost to IR in camp, but I don’t see him coming back.
LB Vinny Ciurciu Who’s that again?


G Dylan Gandy Was a serviceable backup, but should not be starting at this point. Can back up OG and OC
G Daniel Loper Huge disappointment for me. He was fighting injuries the whole year (neck) is what some sources are saying, and I hope this is true and he can play better next season. Maybe put a low round tender on him and bring him into camp to see what he can do when healthy. It sure can’t be much worse that what he contributed last season.
DE Jason Hunter Bring this guy back, and make a 3rd round tender at least — it’s not like that would cost much. He looks like a solid rotational guy who could develop well. Though I don’t think he is going to be a high impact starter, he is the type of blue-collar player teams need to have on the roster for solid depth. At least for now, the Lions need that type of player.
S Daniel Bullocks I’m for letting the coaching staff decide if they want to bring him back and see if he has anything left after two season recovering from a devastating knee injury or not. Here’s hoping he can get back on track with where he was headed after his rookie year, but my gut says he may be another Teddy Lehman. Potential squashed by injuries.
LB Cody Spencer With the emergence of Levy and Dizon, even if Peterson or Foote is let go the Lions are still solid at LB for now. Footewill probably be back and Levy slide to Peterson’s spot since I’m not thinking he will renegotiate his deal to lessen the salary outlay to match his declining skills. They may draft another mid-round LB.
S Ko Simpson See Manuel, Marquand.


DE Copeland Bryan not much to say about him. one of many guys brought in to “try out” this season
CB Kevin Hobbs worth a training camp look…maybe.
G Manny Ramirez had a chance to prove his worth. And didn’t. Disappointing.


LB Zack Follett made his mark on special teams and will continue to do so. Just ask the Rams’ return man what he thinks. He won’t be able to remember his own name either after the hit Follett laid out on him. while he won’t ever see the field much as an actual LB, as long as his coverage and return skills keep up he will have a spot on the roster for a long time as a special teams specialist.
CB DeAngelo Smith tryout guy again I guess. There was so much flux in the secondary I lost track of who a lot of these guys were/are.
T Corey Hilliard See what he’s go?
TE Jake Nordin if Fitz is resigned he’ll be a practice squad guy again at best.
RB Cedric Peerman once again, I am forced to say: …

What are your thoughts on the Lions’ free agents? Any you liked that I didn’t? Those you didn’t like I did? Those I knew nothing about you know something about you want to share? (football related please, okay?)

If I missed any pending free agents that matter, please let me know!!

Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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10 Responses to “Wanted: Lions Free Agents?”

  1. By CHIEFGER139 on Jan 13, 2010

    I liked james too, sure he got burned but he also got interceptions, I actually thought he was our 2nd best guy back there behind delmos, all the rest can go as far as Im concerned and hope we get some good young cb’s in the draft agree on hunter too,always liked fitz simmons and I picked him to make the squad but I think they brought him back after they cut him last year.Culpeper may be who they do keep after watching stanton play a game but id make it a battle between them if they keep both to begin with

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  2. By Isphet on Jan 13, 2010

    OK, it took me a little bit to understand exactly what a restricted free agent is. Now I get it.

    When a rookie comes into the league as a draft pick, they get paid based upon where they get selected. Let’s say purely for examples sake, that all third round selections make 1 million dollars a year.

    To protect a restricted free agent, a team gives them a contract offer based upon that level of pay/protection. So the team offers their own restricted free agent, named “player X” 1 million dollars a year for a contract.

    If another team wants “player X”, they can offer that player a contract. Then, if player X leaves his original team,the acquiring team has to give a draft pick roughly equivalent to player X’s contract level to the team they took player X from.

    It would be an interesting exercise to go through each player and try to guess what level of contract they are being offered by the Lions.

    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  3. By KCLionFan on Jan 13, 2010

    A few years ago, I read a great article about the Detroit Red Wings in “USA Today”, detailing their approach to building and maintaining a championship caliber team. I think the key points bear repeating, as they apply to any major sports team:

    - Have a solid idea of the prototype player for EVERY position on your roster
    - Build a deep pipeline and strong farm system
    - Find players that match your prototypes

    For example, the Red Wings know exactly wha tthey want in their 1st line Center, as well as their 3rd Line RW. They know how many “stay at home” Defense they want, and the profile of each line.

    As you look at their history, you can see the successsion plan: Zetterburg is the next gen Yzerman, 1st line Center. Datsyuk is the next gen Federov; Rafalski is the next gen Konstantinov, and so on..

    As the Lions build, I hope they have a profile for each and every position, and a plan to get that sort of player.

    With every position on the team, you MUST look at upside and potential. I would much rather have young players with potential ina spot than an aging vet that will never get to the “we can win with this guy” level. I would jettison every player that has plateaued AND is not in the upper half of the league in talent,and replace them with young players with upside, even if the younger player is not at the talent level of the vet.

    For example: Jon Jansen — jettison — aging, not int he upper half, replace him with young, raw talent. Jason Hansen, keep — older, ut in the top half of talent in his position. Culpepper — jettison, replace with young kid with upside. Anthony Henry — jettison — replace with youth.

    For all intents and purposes, we are an EXPANSION TEAM. Make no mistake where we are. Be that expansion team that builds with youth, not “wily vets”…Build your team the “red Wing” way. Know what you want, and go get it….

    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  4. By Clusterfox on Jan 13, 2010

    Good Point KC.

    Another factor that bears mentioning is the immeasurables. We all saw it in action before our eyes last draft with the LB situation. Not only did we pass on Maualuga were we hoped we would get him, we passed on him much deeper than anyone thought he could be had. There are definately character traits and intelligence factors that the new regime looks for and I for one am happy with the outcome so far. Stafford, Petigrew, Delmas are all very cognitive players and I think that will create the long term success they are looking for.

    I also believe this is a common feeling in the league that few outside the league truly consider, but Its one of the biggest causes of “Busts”. Look at all the freakish talent that hits the league. Jamarcus Russell, Vernon Gholston, Vick. Some of them eventually “get it”(Vernon Davis) but alot just go up in smoke.(Charles Rogers)(Mike Williams)

    I guess What I’m saying is one of the key factors that decide whether we will pull the trigger on acguiring a player via FA or draft has more to do with the traits that we layman will never be able to judge.


    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  5. By J Ellet Lambie on Jan 13, 2010

    Thanks for the detailed breakdown. Great work as always.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  6. By Isphet on Jan 14, 2010

    Good point about Rey Maualuga. Check out the stat lines:

    Rey M. 64 tackles, 3 Forced Fumbles, 1 sack, 2 passes defensed.

    Deandre Levy 85 tackles(!), 1 forced fumble, 0 sacks, 5 passes defensed(!)

    Those stats are pretty similar. A lot of Lions fans were shouting for Rey M. in the first round, but the Lions basically got a comparable package in the third round.

    In the past, Millen would have taken Rey with the 20th pick. We would have probably been happy with him as a lion. But the Lions would have taken a rather severe “overall value” differential. They got second round talent in the third round, instead of in the first round, for a change.

    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  7. By RIP on Jan 14, 2010

    Good point from KCLionFan.

    That maybe one reason they rated Pettigrew higher than the DT Jerry in the draft. Last year there were very little DTs with size and talent. The Leos took that chance with Hill because he did fit the profile of what they were looking for.

    That being said, it would not surprise me if they draft different than expect with our first pick this year. They may take S Berry, depending on how they rated White’s developement, or that CB from Florida, before with 300 pound under tackles. They also go with that DE from Georgia Tech. Remember the Leos play there DEs wide so they need those 330 pound plus DTs in the middle.

    Want was interesting about last years draft is that the Leos may have taken RB Beanie Wells instead of Delmus if he were still available.

    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  8. By Clusterfox on Jan 14, 2010

    On that same note. I was thinking we might pass on Suh(trade the Pick) or Mccoy if Suh is gone. Because its been stated by Kowalski that Sammie Lee was a great draft, but may never develop to the elite run stopper level. One of the Big boys like T.Cody or Dan Williams could/should be a vailable with the 2nd rd pick.

    So here’s the question for all you guys out there smarter than me. We know we need DL help, but is it specifically DT or could we be looking for another runstuffer/NT type for short yardage and 1st down. This would allow us more flexibility with 2 natural big boys and 2 undersize DT with Fluellen, and Cohen(all Young) or do we take Suh or Mccoy and Still have a gaping hole with Grady Jackson advancing in age? I personally like the CB/DE with the first pick and then NT type or oline with 2nd pick. Assuming the people in those areas grade out.

    Apologies to DF for contining to slant the comments towards draft, when your trying to discuss FA. Its just that we know who is in the draft and have little or no clue as to who will be a target for FA.


    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  9. By Clusterfox on Jan 14, 2010

    Sorry I had to add this when I saw this Quote by Schwartz in TSN. “There aren’t many positions on this team that we can just sit back and say,’Hey, we’re good the way way we are.’”

    I remember this quote from the year end presser that was held. I don’t remember the follow up cause it was hard to hear the questions. But Schwartz was pressed on this subject later in the press conference, and He admitted that he like where we were at Free Safety(Delmas). I think calling Delmas a Free Safety with the way he played and the run support he provided, I think he was being very carful to leave open the position of Strong Safety(E.Berry?).

    Remember Day one, Schwartz explained that in his defense he likes flexibility everything is right and left not strong and weak.(Interchangability) Wow is that a word. Anyways I say BPA worked great last year lets do it again.


    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
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