The rock, the steady guy, the one Lion you can count on… Could he be gone, lost to free agency?
The situation is complicated.
Jason Hanson is the most beloved Lion. He is the only guy we’ve got that puts up numbers; Even when it goes wrong with Hanson, it’s usually the snappers fault, not his. But how far out on a limb do you go for the 17 year veteran? It has become a poker game. Who is going to twitch? Who is going to have the beads of sweat running down their neck expose the fact that they are bluffing? There are legitimate leverage positions that both parties possess.
- He is a solid kicker, and in the NFL, that is hard to come by. It’s something that we never thought about as modern Detroit Lions fans. We had Eddy Murray, he left to get a ring or two with the Cowboys and we drafted Jason Hanson. That was 17 Years ago. Many teams have a revolving door with the kicker position, they are constantly firing a guy for missing a clutch field goal and picking up some other kicker that another team fired… usually because he missed a clutch field goal. Do you see how this goes? We haven’t had to deal with it and Jason Hanson’s consistency has been the reason why.
- In the NFL, your numbers are your bargaining chip and Hansons are excellent.
- The Fans are on Jason’s side. We love him. If he leaves to a team that could possibly play for a Championship, we will cheer him on with everything we’ve got. I <3 J. Hanson :)
For the Lions:
- If you’ve got a guy for 17 years, you’ve got him. He’s got his family here. His kids are in the schools here. Hanson hasn’t had the journey-men’s life that you expect in the NFL. Look at Joey Harrington; From Detroit to Miami to Atlanta to New Orleans in a couple years. Good thing he’s a confirmed bachelor, eh? That’s a lot of traveling. You can’t raise kids with that kind of life, there isn’t any stability! “Sorry sweet heart, I missed a game winner in week 9, the Chiefs coach fired me but the Seahawks kicker sprained his knee pretty badly, pack up the kids and enroll them in a Washington Highschool and load up the van! That’s tough stuff.
- Can Hanson cut it on a ‘real’ team? The kicker for the Lions is a pretty sweet gig. The team is usually so far behind by the 4th quarter that field goals aren’t going to win them anything. Thus, if you make it cool, whatever, and odds are the high pressure 4th down plays will not be special teams, it will be an attempt at a first down. How can you not be beloved when its impossible to lose a game? Hanson has never been in a position where we need him to make this kick or we don’t make the playoffs. The team sucks and has really sucked for 8+ years. They haven’t even made it to .500!
- Has he really been tested? The Lions don’t win on the road and rarely even keep it close. Can he win a game for you in the icy winds of the NFL stadiums? We have a dome. A REALLY NICE ONE. Ford Field is positively gorgeous, it’s like a Mall that happens to have a football team that plays there. There is no wind, there is no ice, there is no rain. It’s always dry and the climate is always delightful.
- Do you really franchise a KICKER?!?! That’s embarrassing.
The Lions have options.
They can apply a ‘transition’ tag to him, that means they can have the right to match any offer from any other teams. If they choose to franchise him, Jason gets a pretty decent check and the Lions are guaranteed his services for one more year.
There is always the free agent market… But giving up on Hanson will be an unpopular move. He is beloved by fans. Though, at this point in the franchise situation, the kicker doesn’t really matter. We won’t be playing relevant ball for another season or two (if at all) and giving up a chunk of cap space to the kicker isn’t necessarily the wisest move to make.
We’ll see how it all plays out. In any event, I think we can all agree that we hope Jason and his family find happiness in where-ever this wacky game that we all love so much takes him.