Dockery's decision not just about 0-16
I've written plenty of times how tough it's going to be for the Lions to attract free agents this offseason coming off an 0-16 season. They'll get their share of Maurice Morrises, sure, but they're going to lose some bigger names, too, as players wonder about an unproven front office, what exactly is going on at quarterback and, of course, the stigma of playing for the league's worst team.
But guard Derrick Dockery's decision to sign with the Redskins late Friday, reportedly for less money than the Lions were offering, was not solely about that 0-16 anvil. Dockery broke into the league with the Redskins in 2003 and spent four years in Washington, starting 61 of 64 games. He knows the team, knows the franchise and here's where the record comes in feels he has a better chance to win with the Redskins.
ESPN reported that Dockery is guaranteed $8 million in his new contract, a five-year deal worth $26.5 million total. I don't know what the Lions would have guaranteed, but that could be factor, too: The soon-to-be 29-year-old has already been cut twice, once by Washington and once by Buffalo, for financial reasons.
The Lions still have a ways to go to be taken serious (read: not overpaying) in the free-agent market. Along with the Dockery situation, cornerback Ken Lucas thwarted a trade to Detroit earlier this week and safety Vinny Fuller opted to re-sign with Tennessee rather than consider other offers despite his thirst for a starting job (which the Lions may have offered).
More importantly, they still have holes to fill, including on the offensive line where Dockery was exactly the type of player the Lions desired a bit, physical mauler who would have started, no questions asked, from Day 1. Now, they'll likely turn their attention to someone like Daniel Loper, a backup lineman from Tennessee who's got the build (6-6, 320) but not the resume of Dockery. Which would you rather have?