Friday, March 7, 2008

Underwhelmed by the Detroit Lions in Free Agency

We all knew the Detroit Lions were not going to be extraordinarily active in free agency.'s Tom Kowalski told us that weeks ago. A combination of a salary-cap crunch and the Lions not being thrilled with the players out there led to that, but so far, the Detroit Lions now have far more holes than they had a week ago, and for a team that wasn't very good to begin with, this is not good news.

We've lost both Boss Bailey (Denver) and Teddy Lehman (Tampa Bay) leaving us with who again at linebacker? The perpetually disappointing Paris Lenin and the oft-injured Alex Lewis. And Donte Curry, maybe? Of course we have Ernie Sims, but that's it. Now, yes, Bailey has never lived up to his potential, and Denver gave him a lot of money, and Lehman was also constantly injured, but still, it is not as if linebacker was a position of strength for the team where we had a lot of depth. Perhaps the theory is to draft a middle linebacker and shift Lenin to the outside, but I'm not encouraged.

We also have yet to find a replacement for T.J. Duckett, who took off for Seattle. As Nick Cotsonika writes in the Detroit Free Pres if the season ended today, due to injuries to Kevin Jones and Brian Calhoun, your starting running back if the season ended today would be Aveion Cason. And we wonder why the Lions are the way they are. Now, the Lions may draft a running back, but considering all the other needs we have, another top pick on an offensive player is the last thing the Lions should be doing. And for all the talk the Lions were going to sign Warrick Dunn, that seems more like wishful thinking than reality at this point.

We've also lost our starting right tackle (Damien Woody), cut our starting cornerback (Fernando Bryant), and traded away our Pro Bowl defensive tackle (Shaun Rogers). Now, that's not to say all these moved were bad. Rogers had more negative intangibles than positives he brought to the team, and I like the cornerback we acquired from Cleveland (Leigh Bodden). But our other additions? Two safetys (Dwight Smith and Kalvin Pearson) when safety is a position we were actually okay with (with two young players, Daniel Bullocks and Gerald Alexander, and a veteran Kenoy Kennedy) and a tight end (Michael Gains).

The Detroit Lions have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks and months. We need a running back, at least one offensive tackle, a defensive tackle (though rumors are we may sign Seattle's Chuck Darby to fill Shaun Rogers' shoes), at least one defensive end, probably two linebackers (at least), another cornerback. And the problem is, most of these are starters we need, not depth positions. And given how free agency has gone so far, I can't see the Lions being too successful in filling these holes.

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