Why I don't think Cutler and the Lions are a match
For the Lions to land Jay Cutler, it's going to take a lot of draft picks. And that's why I don't think it's going to happen.
The Lions don't have the players to entice Denver to deal its franchise quarterback, even though the Broncos have backed themselves into a must-trade corner. They'll have to part with some combination of draft picks to get it done. One of their two first-rounders for sure (if Martin Mayhew can get rid of No. 1, more power to him), plus more early-round compensation and maybe a pick for next year. If Denver wants a quarterback in return, someone like Cleveland's Brady Quinn for instance, the Lions would have to send at least one of those picks another team's way.
They have eight picks overall, including three of the first 33 and five of the first 82, but spending several high choices on Cutler (plus giving him a restructured contract similar to what the No. 1 pick would make) doesn't jive with how the Lions want to build their team.
We've said all along that we want to build this team through the draft, Lions president Tom Lewand said Wednesday during a media event to promote the Final Four at Ford Field. I think a lot of teams say that. The teams who are disciplined about that approach actually do it. So we have to be cognizant of that goal and that philosophy and have the discipline to stick to that. That doesn't mean you don't make trades, but it means you do so with the recognition that you're giving away the opportunity to add to your core through the draft and the recognition that that's the most important way to construct a foundation of a team.
The Lions already are operating without fourth- and fifth-round picks this year, having included a fifth-rounder in the Julian Peterson trade last month. Asked how not having those picks might hamstring the Lions trade wise, Lewand said he wouldn't venture a guess.
That's a purely hypothetical and theoretical question," he said.
He also declined comment on Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford's private workout Tuesday. When asked specifically about Cutler, he cited anti-tampering rules in dodging the question.
It still falls under the purview of somebody who's under contract with another club that I can't comment on, he said. I would say, consistent with everything that Jim Schwartz has said and Martin has said, we'll look at every opportunity to improve our football team and do it in a way that's consistent with our philosophy and that allows us to do things in way that's going to maximize the potential to build this team in a way that is sound and that is consistent with the plan that we've set out.
A couple more notes from Wednesday:
Lewand said talks with the representatives for potential No. 1 overall picks are ongoing. I wouldn't term them in-depth negotiations at this point, he said. We're having discussions on frameworks of contracts with several different representatives at this point.
Asked if he was "close" with Stafford's agent, Tom Condon, Lewand said, Close? I've never had him over for Thanksgiving dinner. No word on whether that will change this year.
On whether the Lions intend to sign Caleb Campbell, the seventh-round pick who had to give up football to return to the Army last year, Lewand said no decision has been made. Campbell, who still has another year of military service to fulfill before he can play football, re-enters the draft pool if he doesn't sign with the Lions before this year's draft. Don't expect the Lions to make a big push to get a contract done.