Inside the Bodden deal
One way or another, the new four-year contract extension Leigh Bodden agreed to Thursday should provide the cornerback the sense of stability he desires. Only, it may not come in a Lions uniform.
Bodden's deal is worth a total of $27 million. He gets $2 million when he signs and another $8.6 million in the form of a roster bonus when the NFL calendar flips come March. That's the key component of whether Bodden will be a Lion long-term or not.
If Bodden has a good season, it's entirely possible the Lions decide to pick up that bonus, steep as it is. If he doesn't, and as of now he's not assured a starting spot (though one is likely), the Lions can simply wash their hands of the cornerback acquired in the Shaun Rogers trade. Along with his signing bonus, Bodden is due a salary of about $1.7 million this year. He has two years left on his original contract.
Even if the Lions cut ties with Bodden after the season, the 26-year-old (he'll be 27 on opening day) should land a sizeable, multi-year contract as a free agent. He's had injury problems in the past, but is coming off his best season and no one questions his ability to cover. The Lions would like him to be part of their future, but they have their other top cornerbacks tied up beyond this year as well. Keith Smith, maybe the team's best cover man, signed a two-year deal this offseason. Brian Kelly, a Tampa 2 disciple, came aboard for three seasons as a free agent. And nickel back Travis Fisher re-signed for three years in the offseason.
Bodden got his deal (he wanted one in Cleveland, which is why he was available through trade) and one way or another he'll get paid, but only time will tell who's signing the checks.