…Let’s review where the Lions stand, shall we?
If you read my other blog today, you’d have seen I spent the day making “Shaun Rogers is fat” jokes, expecting the roly-poly tackle to be traded. Well, the trade with Denver, or with any other team, has yet to happen.
It’s expected Rogers will be dealt before March 1st, when he is due a $1 million roster bonus. It’s just common sense, right? Seems silly to pay 7 figures to someone who won’t be wearing the Honolulu blue and silver during the 2008 season, but it being the Lions, stranger things have happened.
While the pending trade of Very Big Baby and the release of Fernando Bryant have taken up most of the attention, what else is going on at the Lions Allen Park HQ?
Free agent offensive tackle L.J. Shelton, who spent the last 3 seasons starting for the Fish, was scheduled to visit the Lions today. With there being a HUGE hole at right tackle, thanks to the massive flame out of George Foster and Damien Woody likely moving on to greener pastures, if interested in coming home, being a Michigan native and EMU grad (Why else would he show interest in the Lions?) signing Shelton actually makes sense.
To this point, Shelton is the only “name” free agent the Lions have talked to, which is surprising considering the numerous roster holes. Cornerback, linebacker, offensive tackle, running back, and the defensive line all need to be addressed in one way or another, be it in free agency or the draft.
Up to this point, the Lions have only tipped their hand in regard to Shelton, and cornerback Brian Kelly, along with showing interest in resigning running backs Tatum Bell and TJ Duckett, along with corners Travis Fisher and Keith Smith.
To be honest, the only player that gets me enthused is Shelton. He a proven NFL starter with some tread left on the tires. Kelly might be OK as a short term stop gap, but the Lions have been plugging holes with on the downside players for much too long.
As for those players the Lions might bring back, Duckett is the only one worth a plugged nickel. He was not used to his capabilities by Mike Martz, but performed capably when Kevin Jones went out for the season. I’d be just fine with Duckett as the number 2 running back in 2008.
I still can’t get my head around the Lions interest in Tatum Bell. For that matter, why he would even consider returning after essentially being put in exile after game 5 is beyond me. It makes absolutely no sense, which is why signing Bell actually makes sense if you use Lions logic.
For some reason, the Detroit coaching staff has taken a shine to Smith, but he has yet to repay that faith with any kind of breakout campaign. He has all of 4 picks in 4 seasons, 3 coming last year. He’s a backup, a nickel or dime back, at best. As for Fisher, the only reason he was a Lion to begin with was due to his playing for Mike Martz in St. Louis. He did little as a Lion, with 2 picks in 16 games. Fisher’s a journeyman, nothing more.
Unfortunately, with Stanley Wilson being the only corner on the roster as it currently stands, Smith and Fisher almost have to be signed for the Lions to have any depth at all at the corner position. It’s not exactly the way you build a winner, but it’s standard operating procedure for the Millen administration.
I’m hoping we’ll hear more as to whom the Lions will target when the NFL free agent signing period begins at 12:01 AM Friday. As of right now, I’m not all that confident in the free agent state of affairs.