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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.

2/26/2009

4 predictions for free agency

The Lions won't make a big splash – and that's a good thing.
There's rumors that the Lions will be among the teams sniffing around defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (though he appears bound for Washington) and linebacker Bart Scott would no doubt look good in Honolulu blue (though the Detroit native made it quite clear on Sirius radio last week he has no interest in coming home). But new coach Jim Schwartz trumpeted building with “mid-level free agents” last week in Indianapolis, and that's what the Lions will do. Nothing bold, but they are in a position where they can give young backups an opportunity to start. The Lions have enough cap room ($35-$40 million) to come out of free agency with three new starters and more roster filler.

Titans safety Vincent Fuller will be first on board.
Fuller is exactly the type of player the Lions want. He's young (27 on opening day), productive (Tennessee's nickel man the last two years) and blocked on his current team by Michael Griffin. He wants an opportunity to start and should find it in Detroit, where Daniel Bullocks had an up-and-down year, Gerald Alexander is coming off a serious neck injury and Kalvin Pearson is a solid contributor but not a 16-game starter.

Tampa North and Tennessee North are two different things.
Under Rod Marinelli, the Lions signed a slew of ex-Buccaneers and got mostly disappointing returns. Brian Kelly and Dwight Smith were unmitigated disasters. Chuck Darby didn't have much impact. Ryan Nece was serviceable as a fill-in but he won't be back. Only Pearson and Dewayne White are keepers, and it's no surprise they were the young and hungry when they came to Detroit. Schwartz spent a decade in Tennessee and could sign a handful of his former players, but they'll be up-and-comers like Fuller not aging vets like Kelly and Smith. A couple other former Titans to keep an eye on: Chris Carr, a legitimate return man who'd contribute at cornerback, and Daniel Loper, a potential starter at left guard who can also play tackle.

Size matters.
Schwartz and general manager Martin Mayhew have been fairly coy about their free-agent plans, but one thing they've both said – repeatedly – is they need to get bigger on defense. The Lions are transitioning from a Tampa 2 defense and want physical, aggressive players who can withstand the pounding of an NFL season. Targeting and signing players are two different things, but a couple defenders at positions of need who fit the bill (besides Haynesworth) are Rams cornerback Ronald Bartell and Cowboys linebacker Kevin Burnett.

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25 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think they'll sign 4 to 5 players and resign a few of their UFAs.

pearson sucked last year though. out of place and couldn't tackle for anything. he's not that young either [just turned 30].

i say 30 years should be the cutoff age for the lions to sign players. we need to get younger, bigger, faster, and stronger.

i agree with signing the mid-level guys too. you don't build a team through free agency, period.

11:20 AM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

You're right about Pearson's age. I should have said young experience wise and hungry for a more prominent role.

11:45 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin Burnett would be a good pickup.

12:23 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous was right about Pearson. While he was ok on special teams, Pearson was terrible against both the run and pass. If they could find someone younger, better, and cheaper, they ought to let him go.

12:41 PM 
Anonymous Steve said...

"But new coach Jim Schwartz trumpeted building with “mid-level free agents” last week in Indianapolis, and that's what the Lions will do." How is this any different than before? We had a team of backups and now Mayhew and Schwartz want to bring in more backups. It makes no sense. I am one season a way from no longer being a lions fan, I am sick of NO TALENT or talent evaluation. What a joke

12:49 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you won't be missed, steve.

they're not gonna build the team through free agency you moron.

1:08 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a sign of things to come? sure hope not:

http://blogs.nfl.com/2009/02/26/lucas-nixes-deal-to-detroit-could-be-cut/

1:10 PM 
Anonymous Steve said...

to anonymous....the dumb one!
they aren't going to build it through the draft in a reasonable amount of time either. that is why they have to try to get at least one playmaker on defense to lead the guys coming in from the draft.

1:53 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Steve. Unless the Lions picked up an extra 15 picks in the first three rounds that I missed, they have to pick up a couple of good free agents. They can get some fillers but they need some good additions through free agency as well.

2:06 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

steve, you're an idiot.

i never said they'd be able to build a championship team through the draft this year.

with all the players being cut this year, the lions will find a few that could easily be starters for this season and beyond.

quit being so negative and give the new regime a chance.

2:15 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't care who you agree with, anon. i've already said that they need to find a few starters in FA and find the rest in the draft....next.

2:18 PM 
Anonymous Steve(aka idiot, aka moron) said...

did I say championship? no one thinks they are even close to a championship contender. I am talking about being respectable. How can you not be negative about this situation. Put down the Kool-aid and be realistic. If you say they are going to get a couple of free agent starters for this year and beyond, aren't you agreeing with me that they can't do it through the draft alone? Do it that way and you are 5 years away from being .500. keep dreaming though.

2:28 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

I don't have any independent knowledge of Adam Schefter's report - for those who didn't click on the link below, Carolina CB Ken Lucas reportedly nixed a trade to the Lions - but that jives with what I've been told about the Lions being a hard sell for players coming off an 0-16 season. Due the perception of their organizations across the league, the Lions and Raiders will have to overpay to convince some players to come aboard. The reason I predicted Fuller as the first signee is because he has a good relationship with Schwartz and won't need as much convincing.

And not to get in the middle of the debate going on here, but Steve's point about landing a defensive playmaker is why some in the league are convinced the Lions are interested in Haynesworth despite indications from Mayhew and Co. otherwise. I don't see him coming here, but there's no debating what he could do for the defense.

2:28 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

That's what he can do both good and bad, by the way.

2:30 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i choose not to be negative about because really, what does it solve? nothing. if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. i don't drink kool aide or eat cornbread, but i'm not gonna be all pissy and whiny about it either. feel sorry for the ones that are looking at the glass half empty instead of half full.

haynes will be big baby redux. guarantee you that as soon as he gets his multi year 100 million dollar contract his production will fall off a cliff.

DO NOT pick up haynes.

2:34 PM 
Anonymous Steve said...

right my bad attitude is the problem, not years of mismanagement and bad decision making.

2:50 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that my suggestion will probably be laughed at as "what!".I think that the Lions should enter the bidding for Michael Vick.The team needs him and he needs to play.Never mind the conviction.Plenty of those around here. If he comes to MI, he'll be right at home if he wants to return to his favorite "after work" activity. Oakland County would probably provide lots of opportunity for indulgence.Seriously,the Lions will be hurting worse if Minnesota takes him and we had a chance.Of course,two 2)things must happen.Owner Ford will HAVE TO"get UP ON THE MONEY"and the players,staff will need to meet and agree to work with him as a team,not"it's my ball and I'm taking it home"attitude.The team has hit ROCK BOTTOM.This is an opportunity to come out of the hole as "winners".Can you do any worse.He's proven football is NOT FOR WIMPS!

3:15 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See I told you so! Check the latest on Michael Vick.Atlanta Journal. He'll be out in May.Give him a few weeks to do family,friend catch up and Lions MAKE THAT LEAP! Mr Ford,I D,DOUBLEDARE YOU TO THROW YOUR BID IN FOR HIM.It will cost you more now but you can't get the BEST FOR LESS!I'll have a reason to come to the games...maybe!

3:26 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*rolls eyes*

ya, that's what i said, stevie.

3:27 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken Brown claims that the reason Lucas wouldn't come is he's hoping the Panthers will cut him instead, so he can auction himself off to the highest bidder. Apparently, he's scheduled to make $5.6 Million, which would create a lot of room for the cap strapped Panthers (having signed Gross and trying to re-sign Peppers). Lucas thinks he will make more money as a free agent.

3:51 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

quit putting out neg vibes people, it doesn't help anyone or anything.

3:52 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is what i've been saying all along:

http://www.detroitlions.com/document_display.cfm?document_id=482044

3:58 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think ken did us all a favor by saying he wouldn't come here.

hope this isn't the quality of the FA tree maywand are gonna be barking up at.

4:08 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hope you don't mind that i'm throwing links out left and right, dave, haha.

the houshman says he 'kind of likes sexy rexy'....wonder if he'd follow him to detroit if rex does indeed come here [which i wouldn't mind btw]....

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/blogentries/index.html?bbPostId=Cz1joZWG7KsdPBFCI5GfxoqPtCzA1G8tFYMX6vB5ZPiL5VaCun&bbParentWidgetId=B7hKffsuorcGDKIZK9SoYtK

4:13 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

H&@l no to both Grossman and Vick!

8:54 PM 

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