I was trying to wait as long as I could in the event that the Detroit Lions made more moves but Martin Mayhew said on Monday that they are done making any more major Free Agent moves. I’m still holding out hope that the Lions will make a play for another defensive end and get another starting linebacker but it probably won’t be a big name player if they do.
The Lions made a huge splash in free agency and have set themselves up pretty nicely for the 2013-2014 season.
Reggie Bush- Bush was the major signing that the Lions desperately needed. Bush will serve as a replacement for Jahvid Best and will be an excellent addition to the passing game. Bush won’t be expected to be an every down running back or get 25 carries a game, but if you give Bush 15 touches per game he will be extremely effective. Rather than running a draw behind a slow offensive line with a slow runningback, the Lions will have another burner in the backfield. With safeties playing deep trying to cover Calvin over the top, there will be fewer players in the box and allow him to have more open running room. Bush can catch very well out of the backfield, and finally adds a difference-maker at runningback that they have been missing since Best was concussed.
Glover Quin- Quin was a huge pickup in the secondary. He was a 4th round pick out of New Mexico in 2009 and he started playing some corner when he came into the league. He can also play free safety and strong safety. His versatility and play-making ability is going to be great for the Lions, especially now that they re-signed Louis Delmas who will stay at free safety. Quin is very good in coverage, a solid tackler and a very welcome addition to an atrocious secondary.
Jason Jones- Jones is a local guy from Detroit and went to Eastern Michigan. Coming home seemed like a no-brainer for Jones and the Lions were highly interested from the start. Jones can play both defensive tackle and defensive end. He was drafted in the 2nd round by the Tennessee Titans and so he is familiar with the defense that the Lions will be running under Schwartz. The Lions lost Sammie Lee Hill (interestingly enough to the Titans) and haven’t signed Corey Williams, so I’m guessing he’s going to be playing a lot of defensive tackle. The good news is he can play anywhere on the line and is going to see a lot of playing time this year.
Louis Delmas- Re-signing Louis Delmas was a solid move, especially given the fact that they can’t use the draft to fill all of their needs. When Delmas is healthy he is the heart and soul of the defense, even if he does miss a lot of tackles. If Delmas can play more in control and make more tackles, while staying healthy, the Lions will have an excellent pair of young safeties.
I don’t really count Gosder Cherilus or Sammie Lee Hill as losses per se, merely just players that open up more roster spots that the Lions need to fill. Teams way overpaid for Cherilus and Hill and will regret their massive contracts a few years from now. The same can be said about Cliff Avril because I don’t want a rush defensive end that thinks he is worth $10 million and only gets 10 sacks a year. I’m glad the Lions did the prudent thing and saved money by letting all three players walk.
Meanwhile, Jeff Backus retiring all but convinces me that the Lions will be drafting Eric Fisher at #5, the left tackle out of Central Michigan. Then they could put Riley Reiff at RT or RG and Corey Hilliard or Jason Fox at RT. It would help them solidify their offensive line for the future and despite their need for a rush defensive end, a #1 corner and a starting outside linebacker, protecting Matt Stafford is key. Without protecting Stafford the Lions offense will not be able to run the way it is supposed to and more importantly it won’t keep him healthy. They can find a solid corner in the top of the 2nd round of the draft and the same goes for defensive end. Defensive end is an extremely deep group this year and while Dee Milliner may be the only elite cornerback there are plenty of other solid players to take. This free agent class has set them up nicely for the draft and for the upcoming season.