Is Bodden a keeper?
I'm writing about Leigh Bodden and the $8.6-million roster bonus he's due next year in tomorrow's paper, but I wanted to advance the topic here.
Bodden has been the Lions' best cornerback this year. He starts on the left side, has their only interception by a defensive back this year, and has played increasingly well of late. He has four pass breakups and one forced fumble the past three weeks, and more than held his own against Carolina's Steve Smith.
But the Lions have a big decision upcoming on Bodden's future. The 27-year-old signed a four-year contract extension during training camp that includes that whopper of a bonus. If the Lions want him back, they'll have to pay him next year like he's one of the best in the league.
Asked Thursday if he thinks the Lions will pay the bonus, Bodden said yes.
I think so, he said. But we still got four more games left and all I can do is just play hard these four games and whatever happens, happens.
But with one interception this year, is he worth it?
I've gone back and forth on the issue. Bodden will have a hefty cap figure if he's back he's due $2.5 million in base salary, too and the Lions have three other corners under contract in Keith Smith, Travis Fisher and Brian Kelly. (Smith and Fisher are keepers in my opinion, while Kelly could be a cap casualty with his own $2.4 million base.)
But cap room shouldn't be an issue with more than a quarter of Detroit's 53-man roster headed for free agency, and considering his age and play of late, I think Bodden's worth keeping around. Top cover men are hard to find Bodden did have six picks last year and he insists he's playing better than his numbers indicate.
Just because I'm not making a lot of plays on the ball, that doesn't mean I'm not playing well, Bodden said. I think I've been playing well all year. A couple games, Jacksonville game they caught a few passes on me. That's what happens in the league. You're not going to go 16 games without somebody catching the ball on you.
The Charles Rogers epilogue
We reported on our website earlier today that former Lions receiver Charles Rogers is being held in Oakland County jail on $100,000 bond for a probation violation after he left partial confinement without permission and tested positive for narcotics. It's the latest sad chapter in one of the greatest wastes of talent I've ever seen.
The Lions drafted Rogers No. 2 overall out of Michigan State in 2003, a pick before Houston took Andre Johnson (thanks for that Matt Millen). Rogers suffered two broken collar bones and eventually washed out of the league after a 2005 suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
He still owes the Lions about $8.5 million from his original signing bonus for defaulting on his rookie contract, and I highly doubt the Lions will see much if any of that money. To date, they have not received a penny and have no timetable for collection.