It may be the off-season for the Lions, but that doesn't mean there isn't something to discuss especially coming off a 10-6 season. Check here for commentary and updates on roster moves, free agency and, yes, the draft.
Lions' Delmas: No word on Pacman Jones
ALLEN PARK — Lions safety Louis Delmas hasn’t heard any talk around the Lions practice facility about the possibility of signing free agent cornerback/returner Adam “Pacman” Jones.
“We got a lot of good athletes coming in, a lot of dudes that have a lot of experience on the field. No character issues, so they can come in and help the guys a lot as a team,’’ Delmas said. “There’s been some talk (about) a couple dudes coming in as far as Pacman Jones, but nothing in the building as far as the team and the coaching staff I’ve heard nothing about it.’’
The Lions have admitted they have an interest in Jones, who has been suspended twice by the league for off-the-field legal issues. That does not seem to offend or surprise Delmas.
“This organization needs a change. We need everything we can get to change this organization around as far as getting wins around here. So anybody that comes in here to help this organization out, help us win, it’s for the better so I’m all for it,’’ Delmas said.
Lions still have a hole on the offensive line
While the Lions have beefed up the defensive line during free agency, there remains a gaping hole on the offensive line at left guard.
Guards Daniel Loper and Manny Ramirez, both restricted free agents, were re-signed on Monday. That does not mean the problem is solved. Ramirez started a dozen games last season and Loper started five. Neither one stepped up enough to be considered a solid starter.
It looks like this will be a position filled in the draft, although Martin Mayhew is one to pull off surprises.
If necessary the Lions could find a tackle and Jeff Backus could shift to guard.
“We thought last year Jeff had the skill set to move inside. But we’ll see how it all plays out. It’s hard to say at this point. I thought he had a solid season last year,’’ Mayhew said recently.
Bradford's rising stock is good news for Lions
Quarterback Sam Bradford’s pro day at Oklahoma on Monday was streamed live so there would be no questions or discrepancy about the workout.
So the deal is he completed 49 of 50 passes. Accuracy is not an issue, not that anyone should have expected it would be. Teams will probably get more out of their private workouts with Bradford in the next few weeks. That includes the St. Louis Rams who will work him out early in the week of the draft.
The Rams, who have the first overall pick, need a franchise quarterback and it seems crazy to think they might pass up on Bradford. Perhaps after watching his workouts it will convince them he’s the right guy.
That would be huge for the Lions who would then have their pick of the rest including defensive tackles Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy. Even though McCoy played with Bradford, they had different pro days. McCoy joined the rest of the Sooners on their pro day. Bradford had his own. At the combine, McCoy had an easy explanation for that when he called Bradford “the king.”
Lions hone skills through boxing
This offseason several of the Lions are taking up a new sport — boxing — in an effort to get better at their day job.
They work out Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesday is not exactly an off day, instead it’s a “bonus” day.
The Lions have hired Detroit professional fighter Luigi Gjokaj to change up the “bonus” work.
Jason Arapoff, the Lions coordinator of physical development, said that boxing is always an area of interest.
“The guys are competitive. A lot of them especially see a correlation. It is, in a way, hand-to-hand combat. ... They like the competitive nature of boxing and ultimate fighting and things of that nature, martial arts. One part is they’ve had experience and the other part is they see how it may tie into preparation for football,’’ Arapoff said.
A TKO at the 10-yard-line? Who knows?
No deal imminent between Lions, Pacman Jones
The report that Adam “Pacman” Jones is close to signing a deal with the Detroit Lions and will be introduced on Tuesday is not true, according to a league source.
Nothing has changed since earlier in the week when coach Jim Schwartz said the Lions were definitely interested in acquiring Jones, according to the source.
When Schwartz was the defensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans he coached Jones, a cornerback and receiver who played at West Virginia for Rich Rodriguez.
Jones is free to once again play in the NFL after being suspended for the entire 2007 season and part of the 2008 season for off-the-field transgressions.
He hasn’t played in the NFL since 2008 when he had a short stay with the Dallas Cowboys.
Reports conflict on Lions' dealings with Pacman
Conflicting reports are out there on whether Adam “Pacman” Jones has agreed to a deal with the Detroit Lions.
ProFootballTalk.com reports that, according to sources, Jones has agreed to terms with the Lions and the signing will be announced Tuesday.
Other reports differ, saying the Lions have not agreed to a deal.
Jones played for Lions coach Jim Schwartz while with the Tennessee Titans when Schwartz was defensive coordinator there. The 26-year-old cornerback/returner has not played in the NFL since the 2008 season when he was with the Cowboys. His off-the-field issues have seriously damaged a once-promising career.
The Lions this week said they definitely have an interest in Jones and that he has a “skill set” that would help the team.
Rams could make Lions' draft pick easy
The draft is still four weeks away and there is still a very good chance Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh will be drafted by the Lions. More and more it appears the Rams will take QB Sam Bradford with the No. 1 pick.
In fact, the Rams have started contract talks with the agent for Bradford according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. But hold on, they are also talking with reps for Suh, Gerald McCoy and Jimmy Clausen too.
Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ executive vice president of football operations, told the Post-Dispatch: “All the people who are in the discussion (for No. 1 overall), we’ve talked to their agents. We’re really just comparing notes. Also, it may take some time, so we figured we’d get a head start.’’
Last year the Lions had the contract done with Matthew Stafford before the draft. It was the same two years ago when Lapeer’s Jake Long, the first overall pick, had a contract ready to go with the Miami Dolphins.
Will the Rams follow the trend with Bradford?
Suh is one of the players, along with Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy, who has committed to being in New York on the night of the draft’s first round on April 22 according to the NFL Network.
Lions should take close look at Pacman Jones
Coach Jim Schwartz said the Lions are “definitely interested” in Pacman Jones while at the owners meetings this week, according to the Associated Press.
Is that a good idea? Perhaps.
First, Schwartz was the defensive coordinator while Jones played for the Tennessee Titans. So they know each other and apparently Schwartz has a comfort level with Jones.
Second, the Lions will not make a move without completely researching every factor that could come into play. With Martin Mayhew and Schwartz at the helm, every option is an option.
If the Lions structure a contract that would force the cornerback/returner to be accountable for his off-the-field conduct maybe it would work. He’s only 26, maybe he has learned his lesson. Maybe not.
It’s a risk.
The Lions checked him out during his workout last week, but have more research to do.
Jones, a cornerback and kick returner, is just 26. Trouble has been his middle name. He was suspended for a year by the NFL for his off-the-field conduct following the 2006 season. Before the Cowboys traded for him in 2008, he was arrested six times and involved in 12 episodes involving the police since he was drafted out of West Virginia where he played for Michigan’s Rich Rodriguez. The Cowboys cut him following the 2008 season.
Such a resume. Such a question mark.
Lions can hope OT changes will affect them
The Lions have to be hoping that the overtime changes for the 2010 playoffs will affect them. Of course, that would mean the Lions would make the playoffs. Even though they have made quality signings and trades this offseason, the playoffs remain a remote possibility.
The change was made at the NFL owners meeting this week in Orlando. The vote was taken while the coaches, many who were opposed to it, were playing in their annual golf outing.
The rule seems to make sense and diminishes the importance of the coin flip.
Now in overtime a team can no longer win by kicking a field goal on the first drive. If they do, the opponent gets a chance to kick a field goal to tie it, or to score a touchdown to win it. If a team scores a touchdown on the first drive, that team wins.
Lions will likely draft DT, but will it be at No. 2
With the NFL draft creeping up on us — it’s only four weeks away — the question remains whether the Lions will draft a defensive tackle with their second overall pick.
If St. Louis takes quarterback Sam Bradford with the first pick, the Lions will have their choice of Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.
That is, if the Lions keep the second pick. Trading down is an option but only if they can find another team willing to move up to No. 2. It’s a conundrum because the Lions (and most teams) want to take the best player on the board with their pick, but they don’t necessarily want to pay No. 2 money to a defensive tackle. Can’t imagine many teams wanting to move up to No. 2 for a defensive tackle, but who knows.
Both Suh and McCoy are about 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds. The Lions think either one would fit into their system. But if they don’t get either one, they can still pick up defensive line help with later picks. It’s a deep pool.
“It’s the best defensive line draft I’ve ever seen. I’ve been in it 30 years and been through some really good players,’’ Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said. “... This group is amazing, I’ve never seen over 60 guys work out on the D-line (at the combine) and all of them look pretty good.’’
So there you go. It’s highly likely the Lions will draft defensive line help. We just don’t know if it will come with the second overall pick.
Lions' Zack Follett goes where most Lions don't
So if you’ve been wondering what’s up with Zack Follett, your favorite Lions’ special teams player, wonder no more.
Follett is making the most of his Web site and he can be followed on Twitter too.
His Web site -- ZakarianFollett.com -- features the video of him getting to know a lion up close and personal. OK, it’s an old lion, but it’s a beast nonetheless.
“I’m getting some tips on what I need to do to become more aggressive, I can’t lose my edge. .. When I became a Detroit Lion I didn’t think it would go this far, but this is sweet,’’ Follett says during the video.
It’s not all just for show, Follett did the video to help raise money for the Cat Haven in Fresno, Calif.
Follett may not be the most high profile guy on the Lions’ roster, but you can bet more people are getting to know him in the offseason.
Lions add veteran LB Landon Johnson
Veteran linebacker and special teams player Landon Johnson has been added to the Lions’ roster according to a report at ProFootballTalk.com.
Johnson was recently cut by the Carolina Panthers where he had spent two seasons. Prior to that he played four years for the Cincinnati Bengals.
The 29-year-old linebacker, who played at Purdue, played in 10 games for the Panthers last season, starting three of them.
Suh tweets good things about the Lions
Ndamukong Suh just tweeted that he enjoyed his visit to the Lions’ practice facility.
His words (and punctuation) : “Very nice facility, coachs and owner here in Detroit , def will have to say I did enjoy my trip but it is bac to NEB now!!”
Of course, Suh doesn’t have any say in where he will land come draft day (April 22). But no one was forcing him to tweet nice words about the Lions.
Lions C Raiola likes what he sees in Suh
Ndamukong Suh announced his arrival in Detroit with a short tweet: “Hello Detroit.” He’s in town Friday to visit the Lions.
If the Lions should draft the defensive end from Nebraska with their second overall pick, he’d be the third member of the Lions’ Cornhuskers brigade.
The other two — Dominic Raiola and Kyle Vanden Bosch — are huge Suh fans. Vanden Bosch addressed it on the day a few weeks ago when he was introduced after signing a four-year free agent deal.
Raiola totally agrees with his old teammate when it comes to Suh, calling him a special talent.
“From what I’ve watched him do, and from working out in combines and playing games last year, he looks like the best guy out there. I don’t know what direction we’ll go in, but it will be nice to have another Cornhusker around,’’ Raiola said.
Lions' WR Calvin Johnson healthy, ready to go
ALLEN PARK — Unlike most of last season, Lions WR Calvin Johnson is healthy now and plans to stay that way.
“The big thing for me this year, one I want to stay healthy so I can be out there every Sunday so I can help contribute,’’ Johnson said on Thursday.
He’s back at the Lions practice facility for the offseason workouts that began this week.
During the offseason he’s been working on strengthening the areas around his joints to hopefully allow him to stay healthy.
Last year he played in 14 games, but he was not 100 percent for many of them.
“It was rough you know, never really been injured like that. Having the nagging stuff, it’s the nagging stuff that’s the only thing that really sucks,’’ Johnson said.
Like every offseason, Johnson has bounced back from disappointment and has a positive attitude.
“You always have to have faith things are going to get better, you can’t ever get down and not think things are going to get better or they definitely won’t,’’ Johnson said. “You always have to keep a positive outlook.’’
Lions will play Patriots on Thanksgiving
ALLEN PARK — While it won’t be officially announced until early next week, the Lions will be playing the New England Patriots in the traditional Thanksgiving Day game.
According to a report by the New York Daily News, the N.Y. Jets will host the prime-time Thanksgiving game.
Because the Lions’ game will be on CBS, they must play an AFC opponent and the only two AFC teams on Detroit’s schedule for next season are the Jets and Patriots.
It should set up well with QB Tom Brady coming back to play in Michigan and teacher meeting student in Bill Belichick and Jim Schwartz.
Lions QB Shaun Hill is fine with backup role
ALLEN PARK — Shaun Hill seems to have the perfect attitude. The Lions’ new quarterback knows full well that Matthew Stafford is the starter, but he’s OK with that.
“My role here is defined and I’m fine with that. It was always up in the air there (San Francisco). The last two years everything was up in the air. Either you are or you’re not, here I’m not. I’m totally fine with that, I know my role and I’ll be great with the role,’’ Hill said Wednesday.
The Lions got Hill in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers where he played the last four seasons. In exchange, they sent a seventh-round draft pick for 2011 westward.
Hill was 10-6 as a starter for the 49ers from 2007 to 2009, but lost his starting role last season to Alex Smith.
“I’m very competitive, everybody wants to play. But I don’t have an ego, I’m a team guy, team first. What’s best for this team is for Matthew to go out and have a successful season, and for me to step in if need be,’’ Hill said. “I’ve always been a team guy, even when things went down in San Francisco the way they did I still showed up to work, I did my film study with Alex, I helped him out as much as I could. I don’t have that type of ego. I can put that on the back burner and accept my role.’’
With that temperament, he should be a good fit.
Lions QB Stafford welcomes Shaun Hill
QB Matthew Stafford, who battled and beat out Daunte Culpepper for the starting role last season, is pleased to have veteran QB Shaun Hill join the Lions following a trade from the 49ers.
“I’m excited about it. I think he’s started 16 games in his career, so he’s got some starting experience. But, at the same time, I think he’s going to be a huge help for our team and a huge help for me,’’ Stafford said. “He’s a smart guy and knows Coach (Scott) Linehan’s offense.’’
Hill and Linehan worked together from 2002-2004 while with the Minnesota Vikings.
This year there will be no quarterback controversy. Stafford is No. 1.
Lions' QB Stafford throws at full speed
ALLEN PARK —Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw full-speed this morning at the Lions’ second day of organized team activities.
Stafford finished last season on the injured reserve list with a separated shoulder and a right knee that required minor surgery.
Today (Tuesday), he looked ready to go to get ready for his second season as the Lions starter. He was still wearing a sleeve on his right knee.
“I wasn’t running full-speed with the guys, I was doing a separate conditioning thing, but other than that I was going,’’ Stafford said.
He expects to run at full-tilt at the first minicamp at the end of April.
Stafford is in quite a different situation this spring, going into the workouts as the undisputed No. 1 quarterback. And, no surprise, he likes it.
“It’s nice. Last year was kind of a different deal, going through training camp, splitting reps, doing all that kind of stuff. But it needed to be done and I’m just happy to be here right now,’’ Stafford said. “I’m really excited about getting to work a full offseason with the guys and get ready for next year.’’
He’s also happy to have free agent wide receiver Nate Burleson as a target and veteran Shaun Hill as his backup.
Foote calls time with Lions 'the dog days'
ALLEN PARK — LB Larry Foote, who is returning to the Steelers after signing a three-year deal on Monday, had a few things to say about his one season with his hometown Detroit Lions.
Foote told Steelers.com that it was something that is hard to explain until you live through it. Foote went from winning a Super Bowl to joining the Lions who were coming off a 0-16 season.
“You talk about dog days. Those were dog days, especially being a competitive person and losing. I made some nice relationships over there, and it was good going home and playing there, but I just thank God I’m back and didn’t sign a long-term deal (there),’’ Foote said.
Lions make the QB Shaun Hill deal official
It’s official. Quarterback Shaun Hill is the new Lions’ backup. While word was out late Sunday that the Lions made the trade with the 49ers, the Lions make sure the deal is completely done before reporting it.
In exchange the Lions gave up a seventh-round draft pick in 2011. So far, sounds like a good deal.
The 30-year-old quarterback replaces Daunte Culpepper who never won a game for the Lions.
There should be no quarterback controversy. Matthew Stafford is No. 1.
Offensive coordinator Scott LInehan and Hill worked together when both were with the Vikings from 2002 to 2004, although during that stretch Hill never took a snap.
Hill, undrafted in 2002 and signed as a free agent by the Vikings, became the 49ers’ starter midway through the 2008 season and lasted through the first seven games of the 2009 season when Alex Smith took over.
Coach Jim Schwartz said on Friday that perhaps the Lions would look for a backup QB in the draft. That was crazy talk. They need a veteran to step in if Stafford is injured. And now they have one.
Larry Foote heads back to Pittsburgh
As expected Larry Foote is back with the Pittsburgh Steelers after agreeing to a three-year, $9.3 million deal according to ESPN.
Foote, who spent his first seven years in the NFL with the Steelers, became an unrestricted free agent after his one-year contract with the Lions expired.
It was a good move while it lasted to bring Foote back to his hometown and to bring some veteran leadership into a locker room that needed some fresh air -- the kind a guy like Foote could bring.
Coach Jim Schwartz on Friday said he was happy with his linebackers — Julian Peterson, Ernie Sims and DeAndre Levy. So it was no surprise the Lions didn’t bring back Foote.
Report: Lions trade for veteran QB Hill
The Lions had no comment today on a newspaper report that they had struck a deal with the San Francisco 49ers to bring veteran quarterback Shaun Hill to Detroit in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick in 2011. The Sacramento Bee credited a league source in its report of the deal.
The Lions are in need of a veteran quarterback to back up Matthew Stafford, which was Daunte Culpepper’s role last season.
Hill and Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan worked together while both were with the Minnesota Vikings for three seasons (2002-2004).
Lions' DT Corey Williams should thrive inside
With the free agent signing of DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, the acquisition of DT Corey Williams in a deal with Cleveland, got a little lost in the mix.
In fact, Williams’ coming to Detroit played a factor in Vanden Bosch making the call to sign with the Lions.
Coach Jim Schwartz said when he was sitting in Vanden Bosch’s kitchen in Nashville trying to woo him north, he had many things to say to interest Vanden Bosch, but the best thing he had was Williams.
“When I mentioned we completed a trade for Corey Williams his eyes lit up, because it’s not just about one person rushing, it’s getting four of them going. ... Kyle understands that ... It’s not just one person, it’s not just Corey, it’s not just Kyle, it’s not just Cliff Avril or any player ...’’ Schwartz said.
Williams will be a much better fit with Detroit’s 4-3, than he was in Cleveland where he was forced to play end.
“This change can help him, he fits an in inside pass rusher. In previous years, when he got franchised with Green Bay, he had seven sacks inside both years which is really good,’’ Schwartz said. “For a defensive tackle to make seven sacks a season that’s a really, really good number. His pass rush, he’s an explosive player, he’s got good size, but he’s not just a hunker-down run defender. He’s been used that way the last two years, but that’s not all he has.’’
Lions unlikely to bring Larry Foote back
It’s all but a done deal that LB Larry Foote will not return to the Lions.
Coach Jim Schwartz hinted at that in his Friday press conference when asked if Foote was done in Detroit. He said: “I don’t know exactly where that is and where he is. I think we’re very happy with where we are at linebacker. DeAndre Levy was a guy we drafted with a very particular skill set in mind and we thought he could go fill that. He had an opportunity to play due to Larry’s injury at the end of the year. We were very pleased with what he did. I think we’re in good position there.’’
The Lions also have Julian Peterson and Ernie Sims under contract.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that the 29-year-old Foote will visit the Steelers on Monday. Foote, who grew up in Detroit and played at Michigan, spent the first seven years of his NFL career with the Steelers. Foote has also visited the Arizona Cardinals and the Washington Redskins.
Foote signed a one-year deal to play in his hometown for the 2009 season. He was not guaranteed a starting role, but fought for it and started the first 14 games until his foot injury kept him out.
Lions' QB Stafford ready to go Monday
ALLEN PARK — Offseason Training Activities start for the Lions on Monday. Quarterback Matthew Stafford will be ready to go.
Stafford ended the season on Injured Reserve with a shoulder separation. He’s been rehabbing ever since and obviously has made good progress.
“There’s nothing he can’t do. It’s a matter of getting him up to speed,’’ Lions coach Jim Schwartz said this morning.
Lions sign West Point grad Caleb Campbell
Caleb Campbell’s introduction to the NFL was delayed by two years because the West Point grad had to serve that time before leaving to play football.
The Lions, who had drafted the linebacker in the seventh round in 2008, had not forgotten him and have agreed to a deal after they worked him out privately at the Lions practice facility.
Campbell told the Army web site that he ran a 4.49 40-yard dash and weighed in at 237.
Campbell served two years after leaving West Point. Now he can apply for early release, pay back a portion of the cost of his education and serve six years of reserve duty.
He plans to participate in the Lions first minicamp the week after the draft and hopes to get in town sooner.
Former Lions LB Foote says Cards top choice
Unrestricted free agent linebacker Larry Foote, who played for the Lions last season, told the Arizona Republic that the Arizona Cardinals are his first choice. He has also visited the Washington Redskins.
The Lions were interested in re-signing Foote, but obviously have not reached an agreement. He came to Detroit in 2009 on a one-year deal worth about $1.5 million.
He now reportedly wants a three-year deal worth approximately $14 million. The Lions also have linebackers Julian Peterson, DeAndre Levy and Ernie Sims under contract.
Foote, who grew up in Detroit and played at Michigan, started 14 games for the Lions last year, missing the final two with an ankle injury.
Without him, the Lions locker room will be much quieter. That’s not necessarily a good thing.
Lions make it official with Jansen, Ciurciu
The Lions made it official today when they announced they’ve re-signed T Jon Jansen and LB Vinny Ciurciu. Both agreed to one-year deals.
These aren’t the splashy signings, but both are good moves.
Last year, in his first season in Detroit, Jansen provided leadership on and off the field. But more than that, he proved he could still play and even started one game at guard. He would do anything to help the team and it was important to have a guy like that around so many young players.
Ciurciu, a seven-year veteran who was signed to the active roster on Oct. 22, was a huge factor on special teams. That’s something that can’t be overlooked.
Wade, newest Lions' DB, sees great opportunity
Cornerback Jonathan Wade, who has signed as a free agent with the Lions, liked the vibe he felt when he met with members of the Lions management and coaching staff on Monday.
They conveyed that their only purpose was to win games and the 25-year-old defensive back said he sees it as a great opportunity.
“It was the situation I was looking to see. They really want to turn everything around,’’ Wade said in a conference call today.
Wade, a second-round pick (84th overall) by St. Louis in 2007, had a disappointing third season last year. He played in 15 games, but started just four. He didn’t have much to say about the situation other than that “God works in mysterious ways.”
Wade said he tried not to let it affect him and kept going to work every day. He finished the season with 20 tackles and no interceptions. In each of his first two seasons with the Rams he had two interceptions.
The way coach Jim Schwartz operates is that players have to earn starting roles and it will be no different for Wade.
“(I want) fans, followers, everybody to know I have come here to fight for a starting position,’’ Wade said.
The Lions added another cornerback this week when they made a trade with Atlanta for Chris Houston. It cost Detroit a sixth-round pick and the Lions and Falcons will swap fifth-round picks.
Cornerback was definitely a position of need heading into free agency.
Lions auction off Fathead of Vanden Bosch
The Lions went all out to get defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch to Detroit and that included having two Fatheads of Vanden Bosch in a Lions uniform custom-made.
One of those, which has been autographed by Vanden Bosch, is up for bid to raise money for the Detroit Lions Charities.
Vanden Bosch, who signed a four-year deal with the Lions, hopes to continue his community activities as a member of the Lions.
“Being active in the Nashville community was very important to me and I want to do the same in Detroit,” Vanden Bosch said.
In 2009 he was named the Titans’ Man of the Year for his community service. To make a bid go to detroitlions.com.
Lions add pair of CBs: Houston and Wade
On Monday, the Lions grabbed not one, but two cornerbacks.
The Lions completed a deal with the Atlanta Falcons which will bring 25-year-old Chris Houston to Detroit in exchange for a sixth-round pick. Detroit and Atlanta will also swap fifth-round picks. Houston spent the last three seasons in Atlanta after being drafted in the second round (41st overall) in 2007 coming out of Arkansas.; The Falcons announced the trade Monday night.
The Lions also signed free agent Jonathan Wade, 25, who played the last three seasons in St. Louis. Wade agreed to a deal with the Lions according to ProFootballTalk.com. He was drafted by St. Louis in the third round (84th overall) in 2007 after playing college football at Tennessee.
Detroit had a huge need at cornerback since they released Phillip Buchanon and let Will James and Anthony Henry become unrestricted free agents.
Lions agree to deal with CB Jonathan Wade
While coach Jim Schwartz said that the Lions were probably done signing big-name free agents, it does not mean they aren’t looking to improve the roster before the April 22 draft.
A huge need is at cornerback since they released Phillip Buchanon and let Will James and Anthony Henry become unrestricted free agents.
On Monday they found a cornerback in Jonathan Wade, 25, who played the last three seasons in St. Louis. Wade agreed to a deal with the Lions according to ProFootballTalk.com. He was drafted by St. Louis in the third round (84th overall) in 2007 after playing college football at Tennessee.
Also, talks continue with 25-year-old cornerback Chris Houston, who spent the last three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. The Lions would give up a sixth-round pick and change positions in the fifth round according to ESPN reports.
Lions re-sign Heller, cut Dewayne White
Tight end Will Heller, an unrestricted free agent, signed a three-year deal with the Lions today. Last season, his first with the Lions, he had 29 receptions for 296 yards and three touchdowns.
Also the Lions signed free agent wide receiver Brian Clark who played with Tampa Bay last season where he had six receptions for 65 yards in 14 games.
The Lions also released defensive end Dewayne White who played in 10 games last year, starting five of them. He finished with eight tackles, one interception and zero sacks.
Lions close in on deal for CB Chris Houston
The Lions could finalize a trade as soon as today with the Atlanta Falcons for three-year veteran CB Chris Houston according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Lions would give up a sixth-round pick and change order in another pick according to Schefter.
Detroit has a huge need at corner after releasing Phillip Buchanon, and letting Anthony Henry and Will James become unrestricted free agents.
Houston started in 10 of the 12 games he played for the Falcons last season, finishing with 47 tackles, nine passes defended and one interception. He started all 16 games in 2008 and 11 of 16 as a rookie.
He was a second-round pick (41st overall) of the Falcons in the 2007 draft. The 5-foot-11, 175 pound corner played college ball at Arkansas.
Lions likely done signing big name free agents
ALLEN PARK — In all likelihood, the Lions are done signing big-name free agents after they picked up DE Kyle Vanden Bosch and WR Nate Burleson on the first day of free agency on Friday.
“I’d be surprised if there was another big one. One of our successes last year in free agency and scouting was some of our lower salary guys, guys who came in very hungry. Guys who came in trying to prove something,’’ coach Jim Schwartz said today.
In other words, they might not sign any big names but they could sign lesser-known guys who will be productive.
Lions' newest free agents ready to rumble
ALLEN PARK — Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and wide receiver Nate Burleson have one thing in common besides being the Lions’ newest free agent signings.
They are both competitors with a bit of the underdog growl.
The two were introduced to Detroit officially today, but Vanden Bosch got his first meeting with Detroit fans on Friday night when he attended the Red Wings game and was introduced on the Jumbo-tron.
Vanden Bosch found Jim Schwartz, his former defensive coordinator, on his doorstep once free agency had started. It didn’t take much convincing to know that he wanted to be a part of the Lions’ rebuilding effort.
Burleson worked with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan in Minnesota and that was a huge factor in his signing with the Lions. It also helped the Linehan showed up in Seattle to take him out to dinner late Thursday night once free agency had started.
See more on-line at TheOaklandPress.com and in Sunday’s edition of The Oakland Press.
Lions: Ciurciu re-signs, Grady Jackson cut
LB Vinny Ciurciu, an unrestricted free agent, re-upped with the Lions on Friday. Ciurciu played in nine games for the Lions last year, mostly on special teams.
DT Grady Jackson, a 13-year NFL veteran, was released on Friday. He started in 13 of the 15 games he played for the Lions in 2009.
DT Corey Williams happy to land with Lions
ALLEN PARK — Corey Williams is happy to be back in the NFC North after two seasons in Cleveland.
Williams toured the Lions practice facility today after he was traded from Cleveland for the Lions’ second fifth-round draft pick. The Lions will also receive the Browns’ seventh-round pick this year.
Williams had a smile on his face when he met the Detroit media.
He explained that when he started his NFL career in Green Bay, the Packers played the 4-3 and he was on the inside. The Browns used him as an end in the 3-4 scheme.
He much prefers playing on the inside.
“My bread and butter is playing inside, but (Cleveland) had me play outside,’’ Williams said. “(On the inside) everything happened a lot quicker. Everything is a lot, lot quicker than it is at end, there’s less thinking. I’m the type of player, I like to just go. I don’t like to think, I like to go.’’
Williams will play alongside newly acquired defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch who is expected to be introduced on Saturday.
Lions waste no time, boost defensive line
ALLEN PARK — While the Lions had their share of weaknesses last season, one clear area of concern was the defensive line.
The team has wasted on time on the first day of free agency, trying to rectify the situation.
Veteran defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch told a Nashville radio station this morning that he had agreed to a four-year deal with the Lions. This was not a surprise. Vanden Bosch played for coach Jim Schwartz while Schwartz was the defensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans.
Also the Lions are making a trade for defensive tackle Corey Williams with the Cleveland Browns. Detroit is expected to give up a low draft pick in exchange.
The acquisition of Williams will give the Lions some flexibility with the No. 2 draft pick. Defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy are considered to be the top two players available in the draft.
The Lions have also acquired wide receiver Nate Burleson who has a history with Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. They were looking for a receiver to help take the pressure off Calvin Johnson. It appears they got him.
Lions working trade for Corey Williams
ALLEN PARK — The Lions are close to adding another defensive lineman. Detroit is working to make a trade with Cleveland for veteran defensive tackle Corey Williams. ESPN reports the Lions will give up a low draft pick.
Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch told a Nashville radio station this morning that he had agreed to a four-year deal with the Lions.
Vanden Bosch says he's on way to Lions
ALLEN PARK — This morning defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch told a Nashville radio station, according to ESPN.com, that he had agreed to a four-year deal with the Lions. He will be reunited with coach Jim Schwartz who was his defensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans.
Lions reportedly to sign Vanden Bosch, Burleson
ALLEN PARK — Nothing official yet from the Lions, but reports are that defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and wide receiver Nate Burleson could sign with Detroit as soon as today.
Vanden Bosch, a nine-year veteran, would be reunited with coach Jim Schwartz who was Vanden Bosch’s defensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans.
Burleson has agreed to a five-year deal with the Lions according to ESPN. He caught 63 passes for 812 yards and three touchdowns for Seattle last season. The Lions are looking for a receiver to help take the pressure off Calvin Johnson.
Lions cut CB Phillip Buchanon
Cornerback Phillip Buchanon was cut by the Lions on Thursday.
Buchanon, a first-round draft pick by Oakland in 2002, was signed by the Lions as a free agent a year ago. He started 11 of the 13 games he played in for the Lions in 2009.
Like many of the defensive backs last season, Buchanon was benched for subpar play, but got back on the field.
NFL free agency opens at 12:01 a.m.
Lions prepared for opening of free agency
The bewitching hour is midnight. That’s when NFL free agency opens.
Tom Lewand, the Lions president, said the team is ready.
“As (GM) Martin Mayhew has said our plan is to be selectively aggressive,’’ Lewand said. “We’ve always been able to put forth actions that meet our plan.’’
The pool of free agents is smaller this year by more than 200 players. Because a new CBA has not been reached, unrestricted players must have six years experience instead of just four. This isn’t a surprise and the Lions have been planning for it.
“We’ve identified guys who fit us. If we can add those guys, great,’’ Lewand said this morning.
Lions announce restricted tenders
The Lions announced their restricted free agent tenders this morning. Free agency opens tonight at midnight.
DE Jason Hunter was upgraded to a right of first refusal and first- and second-round tenders.
Tom Lewand, Lions president, said that obviously Hunter did a good job last year and defensive ends are valuable commodities. He expects Hunter will continue to improve by staying in the same system and getting more talent around him.
CB Kevin Hobbs and OL Daniel Loper were tendered with right of first refusal only.
S Daniel Bullocks, OL Dylan Gandy, S Ko Simpson and OL Manny Ramirez were tendered with right of first refusal and the round where they were originally drafted. All but Bullocks were fourth-round draft picks.
Bullocks, who sat out last season because of a knee injury, was a second-round pick, but is tendered at the third round. Lewand said it’s a complex situation but because Hunter was originally undrafted, they had to adjust the status of one of the others.
DE Copeland Bryan and LB Cody Spencer will not return to the team.
Lions: Warren Sapp likes McCoy over Suh
Warren Sapp has checked in on the debate between defensive tackles Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.
Sapp wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: “Good Morning, Dust has Settles 4 Me! Take McCoy! Ain’t No Bench Press On the any Yd Line! Feet Beat Weights everyday & Twice on Sunday!!’’
How eloquent and to the point.
McCoy is being criticized for bench pressing 225 pounds just 23 times while Suh managed 32 at the NFL Combine. Both are about the same size — 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds. Both had excellent college careers and both are personable, charismatic leaders. McCoy is considered to be a more explosive pass rusher, but Suh is not exactly a slouch.
Why does this matter? Because with the second pick the Lions have a good shot at drafting one of them.
We can all guess, but Sapp’s opinion should carry some weight. Follow him on Twitter @QBkilla. (He has upwards of 397,000 followers).
Follow me on Twitter @paulapasche. (If you aren’t on Twitter you don’t know what you’re missing. Trust me.)
Lions: Only time will tell for Suh and McCoy
The NFL Combine wrapped up today and still the question lingers: Who is a better defensive tackle — Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy?
We really won’t know for a few NFL seasons. We’ll have a better idea after each completes his rookie year.
It’s crazy to make too much of their Combine bench press stats. Suh pressed 225 pounds for 32 straight times while McCoy managed just 23. Perhaps Suh is ahead in his offseason training, but that does not make him the better pick.
From watching them answer questions at the podium over the weekend, I know they are both personable, intelligent and very much competitors. That doesn’t make them better defensive tackles, but it doesn’t hurt either.
One of the interesting points about McCoy is that he was named a captain of the Sooners in his sophomore year.
If the Rams go after quarterback Sam Bradford (another Sooner), or make a trade down, the Lions could have their pick of Suh or McCoy at No. 2. It seems they couldn’t make a mistake by choosing either one of them. Only time will tell.
Cromartie not the answer for the Lions
In recent weeks San Diego cornerback Antonio Cromartie has been the subject of trade rumors to Dallas, Buffalo and then Detroit. It appears the rumored deal with the Lions to send a running back westward in exchange for Cromartie is losing steam.
The rebuilding Lions need a cornerback, but do they need one with so many off-the-field woes that his play has been affected? He’s had many child support issues over the past year which is almost understandable when you consider he has seven children with six different mothers in five states. He’s 25.
The first day a trade could be made is Friday, the opening day of free agency. At the Combine, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said he will be aggressive yet selective in free agency. The Lions need guys with character. Not sure Cromartie fits the bill.
Lions' restricted free agents get word Tuesday
Tuesday will be the day the Lions will contact their restricted free agents to let them know if they will be wanted back.
It’s a busy week for the Lions. The NFL Combine wraps up Tuesday and free agency opens Friday.
General manager Martin Mayhew expects to be aggressive yet selective in free agency.
The Lions restricted free agents are: DE Copeland Bryan, S Daniel Bullocks, OL Dylan Gandy, CB Kevin Hobbs, DE Jason Hunter, OL Daniel Lopez, OL Manuel Ramirez, S Ko Simpson and LB Cody Simpson.
Bryan, Bullocks and Ko Simpson finished the season on the Injured Reserve with knee injuries.
Combine: Pro day more important for Graham
Brandon Graham’s pro day will take on more importance after he tweaked his hamstring while running the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine today (Monday). The injury does not appear serious, but he could not finish the drills.
Michigan’s pro day is March 12.
The Michigan defensive end, who is expected to move to linebacker in the NFL, is a projected first-round pick.