Stanford Routt was able to hit the free agent market early as a result of his release earlier this month. He’ll get to face his old team, the Oakland Raiders, twice per year thanks to his new contract with the Kansas City Chiefs that was announced today.
Whether or not the Lions were ever interested is irrelevant at this point but Routt’s contract does give an early picture as to how the free agent market for cornerbacks will play out. Stanford Routt isn’t the top cornerback that will have a new home in 2012 so it is a good bet that someone, perhaps Brandon Carr who is likely now priced out of the Kansas City secondary, will sign a contract richer than the three-year, $19.6 million that the Chiefs agreed to with Routt.
All teams looking at free agent corners now have a player and price to use as a comparison. The Lions should be prepared to spend more than $19.6 million over three years if they are interested in pursuing Cortland Finnegan. With the Lions putting a priority on re-signing their own free agents, there is a real possibility that there won’t be any money to use to make a Schwartz-Finnegan reunion a reality.
The Chiefs’ signing of Routt makes for headlines in late February. Tom Lewand is on record as saying that the Lions are intent on making headlines in January and early February. The kind of headlines the Chiefs made today are the easy kind and mean nothing if the moves behind them don’t translate into the headlines that do mean something. With a limited budget the Lions may be forced to wait for the frenzy to die down and land a lesser name at a greater value.