ST Coordinator – Danny Crossman
Joined: February 11th, 2005, 3:01 pm
Looking ahead at the roster into 2014
Hill is going to be a free agent again and has to be considered a solid backup if not one of the better backups in the league. His compensation for 2013 is around $3million after signing a 2 yr/5.5 million deal in 2012. If the Lions are up against the cap, his cap number would represent fairly significant savings and the Lions may be forced to move along without Hill and downgrading at QB2. Moore was much better in his 2nd preseason but its hard to project him favorably vs 1st string NFL talent given his size, slow release, and lack of throwing power or athleticism. Might be able to land some decent talent late in the draft or pick up another retread backup on the cheap.
Need - Replacement for S. Hill
Montell Owens is on a 2 yr/$2.5 million deal with just a $250k signing bonus. The Lions have never really had him this year yet still have nice inside running with Bell and nice special teams play with Riddick at a lower cost. Expect Owens to be released. Riddick has proven his value on ST, he may not have a big upside but the Lions have shown some inclination of getting him involved with the offense using some of the plays designed for Bush. Bell will be a restricted free agent meaning he ll be back. It might be nice to extend him for an extra year. LeShoure will probably be forced to play out his rookie deal as he provides quality depth. Perhaps a draft day deal could be in order but I think he ll be back for one more year. PS player Miller is more of a return option than a real candidate as a runner.
Let Owens walk, no replacements needed unless big value falls out of the sky in draft or elsewhere.
TE : Fauria/Williams
Pettigrew is a free agent. He s stepped up his blocking and dependability as a receiver at the same time as he s been utilized less in the passing game. Fauria is a cheap yet developing talent who they will try to expand from being merely a red zone threat. Williams also on a rookie deal looks promising as a blocker and should be back from a hand injury next season. Could also be an area where they look to add a bigger receiving threat if one is available in the draft after Tony Scheffler was ineffective.
Needs: Re-sign Pettigrew. Hopefully its not more than $4 million/year. Rookie deal was 5yr/$15million so expect a raise.
Its time to move on from Burleson as the No 2 and bring in a legit talent either by going back to the draft or creating some cap space to spend. Broyles cant be counted on. There is some room for Durham if he can keep making plays and Ross if he can handle the return duties. Edwards and Fuller will get another shot to prove themselves next year in training camp. Ogletree might be more than a stopgap if he makes the team next year but not quite a legit No 2/3.
Dominic Raiola will be a free agent. He s playing his best football in a season where he will turn 35 at a big discount from past years. The Lions need him back but this will be Raiola s last chance for a big payday. I dont see him leaving the Lions but they will need to pay him something like 2yr/$4.5mill. Rob Sims will be heading into the last year of a team friendly contract set to earn $2.2 million. Riley Reiff will have 2 years left on his rookie deal to return at LT and Warford will have 3 remaining to be the RG. LaAdrian Waddle has been fortunate to go up against some scrubs in his first 2 starts but has dominated them. He s likely the RT of the future. Jason Fox will be a free agent but has major durability issues getting injured nearly instantly upon taking the field. Dont expect him back. Corey Hilliard with a year left on his deal at around $1 million is probably back as the swing tackle. Dylan Gandy will be a free agent after winning the backup center/guard spot a few years in a row. He s already 31 yo. Lions should at least get him back into camp bc Raiola is nearing the end and youngster Rodney Austin is untested after 2 years on the practice squad. Leroy Harris was on a year deal, wasnt really fully healthy in camp and probably was beat out for a spot on the team by Jake Scott but made the team over him bc of a big signing bonus. Harris has starting experience at G and can also play C, he ll be in competition with Gandy.
K: Akers is a free agent playing for $1million. He isnt as bad as a year ago with San Fran but he could be having a better season. Look for the Lions to consider another specialist in the draft and put him in competition with Akers.
P: Martin - this is his job. Easily the best punter we ve had around in the last 10 years.
KR/PR: Spurlock will be 31 and a free agent. He s been dependable avoiding the bad decisions and protecting the ball better than Logan but he leaves a bit to be desired making positive plays. This could be Jeremy Ross ticket to sticking around in the NFL for a few years and he s under club control at the minimum for 2 more seasons.
LS: Muhlbach. He s made a nice career for himself here in Detroit after having a famous botched PAT snap in his rookie year - I believe first game. He ll be back on another 1 year deal.
DE: Isreal Idonije is for the most part washed up and probably wont make another NFL team. He s gone when his contract is up. Willie Young is producing as a starting end in a free agent year. He s not quite tearing it up but he s worth giving a 2-3 year deal at a fair price $2.5 million to come back and compete for a starting position again. Devin Taylor will be back and in the rotation. Ezekiel Ansah will hold down a starting spot. I wouldnt mind seeing them draft another end fairly high to bring along splitting duties with Young. Jason Jones is under contract but he s coming back from a tough injjury.
DT: Suh will be entering the last year of his deal and the Lions will be looking to extend that deal for there best defender. Fairley still has a year left on his rookie deal. CJ Mosley has a 2nd year left on his deal for over $1 million and has easily been worth that. The 4th spot will be open. Fluellen is on a one year deal. Xavier Proctor on the PS looked promising at times in the preseason if he gain a lil weight and strength might have a shot. Lions like to be 4 deep here and are probably a little thin right now so another depth veteran or mid round draft pick might be brought in also.
LB: All 3 starters Levy, Tulloch, and Palmer are still under contract and will be back most likely in the same roles. Travis Lewis and Tahir Whitehead are decent enought ST players but appear to still have a ways to go to become quality backups on the defense. Rocky McIntosh will be a FA and only plays in goalline/short yardage. They could use a talented young player to leap frog past Lewis/WHitehead and maybe even Palmer but dont look for the team to spend on a FA.
Mathis has been a godsend of sorts but will be 34 next season and is getting by mostly on veteran guile and wit. His contract is up at the end of the season. Slay doesnt appear to be anywhere close to ready to start or even play nickel so a quality veteran free agent will need to come in. It doesnt have to be a star but they need to buy some more developmental time. Bentley s had his faults and doesnt seem to be durable but he s a better slot coverage player than Slay is on the outside right now. Green is developing and Greenwood is playing catch up from the PS. Anything from those two is just a bonus right now.
Wendling will be a free agent. He s limited as a safety but gives a good effort and is still a plus player on ST. Expect him re-signed. Don Carey will be a free agent and has upped his value from street free agent to a versatile secondary defender who has borderline starter ability at S and CB. He s deserving of a raise if any other team has taken notice but the Lions would love to have him back. Gomes is kind of a younger version of Wendling and has been above average on ST coverage and still has a year on his contract. He ll have to make the team but he ll be back in training camp again next season. Delmas contract is the interesting one bc he s due $5.5 million in 2014 which is probably more than his strong play is worth even when totally healthy. Lions will be looking to renegotiate that one.
QB: Stafford/Vet FA/Moore
WR: Calvin Johnson/high draft pick/Durham/Ross/late pick or FA
OL: Reiff/Sims/Raiola/Warford/Waddle and Hilliard/Austin/Gandy/mid rd draft pick
DE: Ansah/Young/Taylor/High draft pick
LB: Levy/Tulloch/Palmer/Lewis/Whitehead/late pick
CB: Houston/Vet FA/Bentley/Slay/Green
K FA, P Martin, LS Muhlbach
Rd 1 : WR
Rd 2 : DE
Rd 3 : receiving TE
Rd 4 : OL
Rd 6: LB
Rd 7: K
FA: QB#2, CB#2, WR4/5, DT #4, LB#4/5