Saturday, March 3, 2007

Lions sign White, pass on Fletcher

The Detroit Lions signed their first free agent Saturday night, defensive end DeWayne White. White has never been a starter, but has been productive in in the playing time he received in Tampa Bay, where both our head coach and defensive coordinator coached him. So, if they think he can help, and that he'll increase his production as a starter with increased playing time, I have faith in them. If there's one thing I believe this coaching staff understands, it is how to evaluate talent (something General Manager Matt Millen hasn't always been able to do very well) and they are very familiar with what White can do. Plus, he knows the defensive scheme inside and out, so it shouldn't be a long adjustment period for him.

But, here's my problem. According to, White signed for 5-years @ $29 million. That is the same contract length and MORE money than Pro Football Talk reports that London Fletcher-Baker (a middle linebacker) signed for with the Washington Redskins yesterday. Fletcher is a much more proven player than White and would have likely made a larger impact on the Lions defense. Plus, while the draft is void of middle linebackers worth drafting at the #2 overall pick (which the Lions have -- Patrick Willis, the best ILB in the draft is at best a 10-15 guy) there are two defensive ends the Lions could take where they are, including Clemson's Gaines Adams.

And, reportedly, Fletcher was the Lions top target in free agency. So, why refuse to pay him what they paid White? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Fletcher is proven and was certainly a position of need. Maybe he was signed and delivered to Washington before the Lions ever got a chance to talk to him. But, I find it hard to believe he would have turned down more money had Detroit been offering it. Very very curious to me.

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